#BlackHistoryMonth films that explore social justice

We’re spending Black History Month highlighting some of the films and programs streaming online that illustrate Black history, culture, and life in America. Here are some that focus on social issues—past and present—that affect Black populations in America.

African American male wearing black leather jacket sitting on hood of teal sedan parked on grass.

POV films provide us with a unique look at life in America.

Two recent POV films illustrate the experiences of Black men in America. All the Difference lets the audience follow the lives of two young men from the South Side of Chicago as they pursue their dream of graduating from college. Similarly, Raising Bertie follows the lives of three young men in rural North Carolina as they navigate unemployment, institutional racism, violence, first love, fatherhood and estrangement from family members and mentors.


Black and white photo of African American male holding American flag with handwritten names on it draped across his back.

While no one wants to think that their children may be unsafe in average, day-to-day situations, the reality is that they indeed may not be. The Talk: Race in America features Black and Latino families coming to grips with that reality. In the wake of recent tragic and fatal events between men of color and law enforcement, viewers learn how these families counsel their kids to stay safe if they are stopped by the police.


Group of African Americans standing together looking at a person who is partially on camera.

FRONTLINE has taken an unflinching look at the ways race and social circumstances affect the lives of Black Americans. Fittingly, we could populate several blog posts with FRONTLINE programs alone. For now though, we picked a handful to share. Separate and Unequal explores the growing racial divide in American schools — and considers the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. Documented by journalist Bill Moyers over more than twenty years, Two American Families is a portrait of perseverance that raises questions about the changing nature of the U.S. economy and the fate of a declining middle class.

ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America explores one of the country’s most urgent, preventable health crises. And, The Interrupters (pictured) follows three former criminals in Chicago who intervene in disputes in an effort to curb violence.


Historic image of William Still sitting in a suit

And for a dose of history, check out Underground Railroad: The William Still Story to learn about a humble Philadelphia clerk who risked his life shepherding runaway slaves to freedom in the years leading up to America’s Civil War. William Still was the director of a complex network of abolitionists, sympathizers and safe houses that stretched from Philadelphia to what is now Southern Ontario.


For more Black History Month content, check out these wonderful performing arts programs, and follow us on Twitter, where we’re sharing favorite books written by Black authors, as submitted by viewers and staff. (Share yours here!)