University Libraries' Selected Films for Rethinking Race

University Libraries' Documentary Films for Rethinking Race: A Selected List

Compiled by Karen A. Plummer, Electronic Services

Bittersweet: The Asian-Indian Experience in the U.S.
Release date: 1995
Running time: 42 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Focuses on Asian-Indian immigrants in the U.S. who discuss the complex social and personal issues involved in dealing with their dual cultural influences. To most outsiders, the idea of immigrating to America suggest the opportunity to get rich and lead the "good life," but those who undertake this journey, leaving behind their native communities for another culture, are often faced with larger issues than material well-being. Interviews with a variety of Asian-Indian immigrants residing in the U.S.--including such notables as Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and painter Mohan Samant--are combined with dramatic voice-overs and self-reflexive passages, all of which illuminate issues of cultural identity and the problems of defining community in an adopted land."--Cinema Guild website
More info: The Cinema Guild
Focus: Asian-American
Black is-- black ain’t: a personal journey through black identity
Release date: 1995
Running time: 86 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: American culture has stereotyped black Americans for centuries. Equally devastating, the late Marlon Riggs argued, have been the definitions of "blackness" African Americans impose upon one another which contain and reduce the black experience. In this film, Riggs meets a cross-section of African Americans grappling with the paradox of numerous, often contradictory definitions of blackness. He shows many who have felt uncomfortable and even silenced within the race because their complexion, class, sexuality, gender or speech has rendered them "not black enough," or conversely,
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Blacking up: hip-hop's remix of race and identity
Release date: 2009
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Hip-Hop was created by urban youth of color more than 30 years ago amid racial oppression and economic marginalization. It has moved beyond that specific community and been embraced by young people worldwide, elevating it to a global youth culture. The ambitious and hard-hitting documentary Blacking Up: hip-hop's remix of race and identity looks at the popularity of hip-hop among America's white youth. It asks whether white identification is rooted in admiration and a desire to transcend race or if it is merely a new chapter in the long continuum of stereotyping, mimicry and cultural appropriation? Does it reflect a new face of racial understanding in white America or does it reinforce an ugly history? Against the unique backdrop of american popular music, Blacking up explores racial identity in U.S. society. The film artfully draws parallels between the white hip-hop fan and previous incarnations of white appropriation from blackface performer Al Jolson to mainstream artists like Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Eminem. It interweaves portraits of white hip-hop artists and fans with insightful commentary by African American cultural critics such as Amiri Baraka, Nelson George, Greg Tate, comedian Paul Mooney and hip-hop figures Chuck D., Russell Simmons, M1 of Dead Prez, and DJ Kool Herc"—Container
More info: Film's website
Focus: African-Americans
Challenging Hispanic stereotypes: Arturo Madrid
Release date: 1989
Running time: 30 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Moyers and Madrid discuss the controversy surrounding bilingual education and the state of education, in general, for Hispanic people
More info: Films Media Group
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Children of the camps
Release date: 1999
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Part of the Children of the camps educational project, this video shares the experiences, cultural and familial issues, and the long internalized grief and shame felt by six Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in internment camps as children during World War II
More info: PBS Online
Focus: Asian-Americans
Color adjustment
Release date: 1991
Running time: 80 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: An analysis of the portrayal of African-Americans on American television from 1948-1988. Argues that earlier images were outright racist, and that later images have been overly biased towards prosperous blacks
More info: California Newsreel
Focus: African-Americans
The Color of Fear
Release date: 1995
Running time: 90 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Examines the pain and anguish that racism has caused in the lives of North American men of Asian, European, Latin and African descent. Out of their confrontations and struggles to understand and trust each other emerges an emotional and insightful portrayal into the type of dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime. The intention of the supplementary film study guides is to give the viewer an opportunity to test his or her facilitation skills and to deepen the awareness of self in relation to the world. The CD-ROM contains a series of questions, based on the film, to challenge viewers to reexamine their thinking (and possible assumptions) about the material they are viewing, and the DVD contains the film, divided up into vignettes
More info: Director Lee Mun Wah about casting the film
Focus: Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans
Comedy Middle Eastern Style
Release date: 2005, 56 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "The Middle East is a region filled with contradictions and is often thought of as a place of chaos and war. Mainstream media insists on reporting only the turmoil, pandemonium, and bloodshed, but rarely presents the true sentiments of the majority of the people, who live their daily lives longing for peace. In Comedy Middle Eastern Style, with a mix of humor and candid interviews, Middle Eastern standup comics living in New York share their views on political issues and the prejudice they’ve had to endure since September 11, 2001. Arab, Israeli, Pakistani, and Iranian comics are among the many on stage in a given night telling their stories and trying to make sense of the complicated world they came from. This documentary looks at the power humor has to heal the wounds of war, and perhaps allow each of us to understand one another a little better."--Cinema Guild website
More info: The Cinema Guild
Focus: Muslim-Americans
Crips and Bloods: Made in America
Release date: 2008
Running time: 93 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A cluster of neighborhoods lies in the heart of Southern California, streets that form a grid between concrete ribbons of freeway. Nearly a quarter of its young men will end up in prison. Many others will end up dead. These neighborhoods in South Los Angeles are home to two of the most infamous African-American gangs, the Crips and the Bloods. On these mean streets over the past 30 years, more than 15,000 people have been murdered in an ongoing cycle of gang violence that continues unabated. Here is where America's most bloody and costly outbreaks in civil unrest erupted - not once, but twice, 27 years and just three miles apart. Combines archival footage with in-depth interviews.
More info: PBS Online
Focus: African-Americans
A Dream in Doubt
Release date: 2007
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Four days after the 9/11 attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down at his Phoenix area gas station by a man named Frank Roque. To Roque, Balbir Sodhi’s beard and turban—articles of his Sikh faith—symbolized the face of America’s new enemy. Seeking retaliation for 9/11, Roque killed Sodhi and went on to shoot at a Lebanese American man and fire multiple rounds of ammunition outside an Afghan American family’s home. A DREAM IN DOUBT follows Rana Singh Sodhi, Balbir’s brother, as he attempts to fight the hate threatening his family and community. The Sodhis had fled ethnic violence in India to pursue their version of the American dream. But less than a year after Balbir’s murder, Sukhpal Sodhi, Rana’s next-eldest brother, is killed in mysterious circumstances while driving a cab in San Francisco. Nine months later, Rana’s friend Avtar Chiera is shot by three men who yell, “Go back to where you came from!” Three weeks after Avtar’s shooting, another friend, Inderjit Singh, is physically assaulted and threatened with death while working at a convenience store. These incidents receive little to no coverage in the U.S. media, and a national dialogue concerning post-9/11 hate crimes and ethnic profiling is sorely missing. Wanting justice for his brothers’ murders, Rana is motivated towards social action. He demands that America live up to its ideals of equality. A DREAM IN DOUBT explores the complexities of race, religion, immigration, and the American Dream. In the end, the film demonstrates that hope and courage have the power to overcome hate."--Film overview, ITVS.org
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Asian-Americans
Eyes on the Prize
Release date: 2006
Running time: 120 minutes each
Available format: DVD
Summary: Vols. 1-3 tell the story of America's civil rights years from 1954 to 1965; vols. 4-7 examine the new America from 1966 to 1985, from community power to the human alienation of urban poverty
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Freedom on my mind
Release date: 1994
Running time: 110 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Documentary of the civil rights movement and the events surrounding the Mississippi Voter Registration Project of the early 1960's. Combines archival footage with contemporary interviews
More info: California Newsreel
Focus: African-Americans
Herskovits at the heart of blackness
Release date: 2009
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Herskovits, anthropology & identity -- Jews & blacks: similar experiences? -- Anthropology as a study of race -- "What are you?" -- Rediscovering Africa -- Africanisms in the Americas -- Politics and the production of knowledge -- The myth of the negro past -- Conflicts with black scholars -- The decolonization of Africa -- Reinterpretations and black power -- Who gets to define a people's identity?
More info: California Newsreel
Focus: African-Americans
Hip-hop: beyond beats and rhymes
Release date: 2006
Running time: 61 minutes
Available format: DVD (Full version (61 min.); Abridged version (55 min.))
Summary: A look at the conceptualization of masculinity in hip-hop culture. Includes interviews with prominent rappers, music industry executives, and social critics
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
In whose honor?
Release date: 1997
Running time: 46 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Discussion of Chief Illiniwek as the University of Illinois mascot, and the effect the mascot has on Native American peoples. Graduate student Charlene Teters shares the impact of the Chief on her family. Interviewees include members of the Board of Regents, students, alumni, current and former "Chiefs" and members of the community
More info: New Day Films
Focus: Native-Americans
In the White Man’s Image
Release date: 1992
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Tells the story of the attempt to assimilate American Indians into white culture by educating them at special schools such as the Carlisle School for Indians. Founded by Richard Henry Pratt, this school and others like it attempted to wipe out all remnants of Indian culture, and, as a result, created a generation of Indians confused about their identities
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Native-Americans
The Interrupters
Release date: 2011
Running time: 125 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. From acclaimed director Steve James and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz, this film is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films, The Interrupters captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities. During that period, the city was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a Chicago High School student, whose death was caught on videotape.
More info: Film's website
Focus: African-Americans
The Intolerable Burden
Release date: 2003
Running time: 56 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Documentary film of how Mae Bertha and Matthew Carter enrolled the youngest eight of their thirteen children in the public schools of Drew, Mississippi in 1965, which were all white. The Drew school board had initiated a "freedom of choice" plan to bring the district in compliance with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but Blacks were not expected to choose all white schools. Examines the conditions of segregation prior to 1965, the hardships the family faced during desegregation, and the massive white resistence, which led to resegregation.
More info: Icarus Films
Focus: African-Americans
Latin and African Americans: friends or foes?
Release date: 1996
Running time: 44 minutes
Available format: Streaming video (Films on Demand or OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons)
Summary: Hispanics and African-Americans-from politicians to poets to everyday people-speak candidly about the tensions between their communities. In Los Angeles, Mexican-Americans resent the African-American perception of them as mostly illegal immigrants who are taking their jobs. In Miami, the division between blacks and Hispanics leaves Cubans feeling culturally isolated. In New York, Puerto Ricans and blacks speak frankly about competition for educational and financial resources. Poet Maya Angelou, political activist Al Sharpton, Congressman Herman Badillo, actress Philicia Rashad, and others suggest solutions that emphasize cultural understanding. Hosted by actor Hector Elizondo
More info: Films Media Group
Focus: Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans
Lest We Forget
Release date: 2003
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Through critical lenses, this film explores a lesson that history has forgotten in a country that is alienating its citizens and violating their basic rights. During World War II it was Japanese Americans, now it is brown skin, Muslims and people of Arabic and South Asian descent. Can America survive this perpetration of gross injustices yet again? This documentary follows the events post-9/11, examining the roundups and racial attacks that continue to occur in the name of national security. The film contains stories told by individuals who have felt the severity of wartime racism in America and explores the sullied past in the hopes of creating lessons for a different future."--Third World Newsreel website.
More info: Third World Newsreel
Focus: Arab-Americans, Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans
The Longoria Affair
Release date: 2010
Running time: 52 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Sixty years ago in Three Rivers, Texas, the only funeral home in town refused to hold a wake for Felix Longoria, a decorated Mexican American soldier killed in battle during World War II. Longoria’s widow was told, simply, “The whites wouldn’t like it.” Those words became front-page news across the country, sparking outrage and setting off a series of events that would come to be known as the Longoria Affair. The incident fueled the rise of a national civil rights movement led by Mexican American veterans, and bitterly divided Three Rivers for generations to come. Two stubborn and savvy leaders, newly elected Senator Lyndon Johnson and activist Dr. Hector Garcia, formed an alliance over the incident. Over the next 15 years, their complex, sometimes contentious relationship would help Latinos become a national force for the first time in American history, carry John F. Kennedy to the White House, and ultimately lead to Johnson’s signature on the most important civil rights legislation of the 20th century. Today the town of Three Rivers still struggles with its past. Local musician and activist Santiago Hernandez wants to honor Felix Longoria by naming the post office after him. But many Anglo residents are angered by the idea. They believe discrimination against Mexican Americans never existed in their town and the Longoria Affair was blown up for political gain. Past and present collide as Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans engage in a bitter struggle over the meaning of civil rights and the history of segregation.
More info: PBS Online
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas)
Release date: 2009
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Augie and Gino were living the American dream. Raised and educated in the United States since childhood, they were also proud veterans of the U.S. military. But in 1999, these two brothers were forced to leave the only country they’d ever known — and one they’d sworn to protect. Deported to Mexico by the U.S. government, they had to start over and forge new lives in an unfamiliar “homeland.” Within two weeks, one of the brothers overdosed on heroin in a Tijuana hotel room. His body was left unclaimed for two months in a mass grave. In LOST SOULS(ANIMAS PERDIDAS), filmmaker Monika Navarro travels to Mexico and pieces together the tragic events of her uncle’s deportation, opening a Pandora’s box of family secrets. against the backdrop of increased attention to the U.S.-Mexican border, LOST SOULS draws on the Navarro family’s experience to explore national identity, migration, and what happens after deportees are sent to a homeland they don't even consider home. From idyllic Southern California — where the filmmaker’s Mexican American family has lived for more than four decades — to her uncle’s birthplace of Guadalajara, the film delves into the history that led to Augie and Gino’s deportations. Featuring interviews with family members and weaving together family photographs, letters, and vérité footage, LOST SOULS is an epic story about an immigrant family with a complex history of abuse, addiction, and resilience. This compelling and personal documentary reveals what happens when a family confronts its past, and how its members have survived despite both physical and emotional forms of loss and exile. As Navarro says in the film, 'I found myself also telling a different story — about the kind of exile that has nothing to do with the government.'"--PBS website
More info: PBS Online
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
A Man Named Pearl
Release date: 2006
Running time: 78 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A Man Named Pearl follows the journey of Pearl Fryar, a sharecropper's son, who, with passion and determination, has risen to prominence as an internationally acclaimed topiary artist. In the poorest county in South Carolina, Pearl has single-handedly created an amazing 3-1/2 acre garden from throwaway plants. In the process he has brought hope and racial reconciliation to his hometown. With decades' worth of stunning, lush topiaries, his garden is now a tourist destination, and he's an uplifting icon in his community.
More info: Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden website
Focus: African-Americans
Matters of Race
Release date: 2000
Running time: 60 minutes each segment
Available format: Streaming video: The Divide, Race Is/Race Ain't, Tomorrow's America, and We're Still Here
Summary: This program explores racial issues in Siler City, North Carolina, including: what are the effects of rapid change in racial demographics? What happens when white culture no longer dominates society? Will the future more closely resemble our segregated past, or is the nation experiencing the declining significance of race? Utilizing the writing of Eric Liu (The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker) and Ruben Martinez (Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail) and directed by John Valadez, this episode explores power and identity in small town America
More info: PBS Online
Focus:
The Muslim Americans
Release date: 2011
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: With a total population estimated between three and six million people, the United States is home to one of the most diverse Muslim communities in the world today. But what is the experience of the Muslim American? How does it differ from European Muslims? A part of the PBS America at a Crossroads series, The Muslim Americans was produced in conjunction with the PBS NewsHour and, by means of ́ђجconversation,́ђح depicts the contrasting life for Muslims here in the U.S. as compared to those in Britain and Europe. As the film examines issues such as assimilation, discrimination, religion, politics, and challenges of Muslim youth, it is a window into everyday life for Muslim Americans
More info: America at a Crossroads program website
Focus: Muslim-Americans
NeverPerfect
Release date: 2007
Running time: 65 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "How are ideas of beauty influenced by race, history, and geopolitics? With a rich selection of film clips and archival footage, NEVER PERFECT examines the dramatic rise in popularity of cosmetic surgery among Asian-American women ... Follows the complex journey of a young Vietnamese-American woman as she struggles with her decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure known as double-eyelid surgery"--Container
More info: Film website
Focus: Asian-Americans
New Muslim Cool
Release date: 2009
Running time: 90 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. New Muslim Cool takes viewers on Hamza's ride through streets, slums and jail cells — following his spiritual journey to some surprising places in an America that never stops changing. Produced in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
More info: PBS Online POV program website
Focus: Muslim-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans
Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness
Release date: 2011
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents of Patchogue, New York culminate with the murder of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the Long Island village for 13 years. Over a two-year period, the story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and begin taking steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.
More info: Program website
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Our spirits don't speak English
Release date: 2008
Running time: 80 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Imagine you are a child, taken from your home, your family, taken from everything you know. In 1869, the U.S. government enacted a policy of educating Native American children in the ways of western society. By the late 1960's, more than 100,000 had been forced to attend Indian Boarding School"--Container
More info: Film website
Focus: Native-Americans
Prom Night in Mississippi
Release date: 2010
Running time: 90 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: In 1997, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the senior prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi under one condition: the prom had to be racially integrated. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Freeman offered again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made. Charleston High School had its first-ever integrated prom - in 2008. Until then, blacks and whites had had separate proms even though their classrooms have been integrated for decades. Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman follows students, teachers and parents in the lead-up to the big day. This seemingly inconsequential rite of passage suddenly becomes profound as the weight of history falls on teenage shoulders. We quickly learn that change does not come easily in this sleepy Delta town. Freeman's generosity fans the flames of racism - and racism in Charleston has a distinctly generational tinge. Some white parents forbid their children to attend the integrated prom and hold a separate white-only dance. "Billy Joe," an enlightened white senior, appears on camera in shadow, fearing his racist parents will disown him if they know his true feelings. PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white and a whole lot of taffeta. -David Courier, Sundance Film Festival
More info: Prom Night in Mississippi website
Focus: African-Americans
Race: the power of an illusion
Release date: 2003
Running time: 168 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Episode one explores how recent scientific discoveries have toppled the concept of biological race. Episode two questions the belief that race has always been with us. It traces the race concept to the European conquest of the Americas. Episode three focuses on how our institutions shape and create race
More info: California Newsreel website
Focus: African-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Arab-Americans
The rise and fall of Jim Crow
Release date: 2002
Running time: 224 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A 4-part series offering the first comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement presenting the context in which the laws of segregation known as the "Jim Crow" system originated and develop
More info: PBS Online program website
Focus: African-Americans
Skin Deep
Release date: 2005
Running time: 53 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A diverse group of college students reveal their honest feelings and attitudes about race and racism. Students are interviewed alone, shown in their home town settings, and then discuss the issues in group sessions
More info: Film website
Focus: African-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Arab-Americans
The Slanted screen
Release date: 2006
Running time: 55 minutes
Available format: Streaming video
Summary: This award-winning documentary explores portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experience of actors who have struggled against Hollywood's ethnic stereotyping and discriminatory practices. The Slanted Screen covers the practice of using Caucasian actors in yellowface makeup, drawing upon a wealth of materials, including 50 rare film clips spanning a century. The program, which was broadcasted nationally on PBS, features voice-over narration by Daniel Dae Kim as well as interviews with actors Mako, James Shigeta, Jason Scott Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Will Yun Lee, and Tzi Ma; producer Terence Chang; director Justin Lin; and casting director Heidi Levitt
More info: Film website
Focus: Asian-Americans
Ties that bind: immigration stories
Release date: 2005, c1996
Running time: 56 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: This program looks at the human drama behind the current debate over U.S. immigration policy. It roams both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, exploring the root causes of why Mexicans immigrate. The role played by transnational corporations and their social and economic impact on both Mexicans and other North Americans is considered. A second segment explores the determination of immigrants and questions why current immigration policies are the most restrictive in years. A third part discusses the strong family values immigrants bring with them as having a positive impact on U.S. culture. Immigrant organizations are examined within the context of the American citizen action tradition
More info: Film website
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Time of Fear
Release date: 2005
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: Streaming video
Summary: During World War II, 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in relocation camps across the United States. This documentary details the lives of 16,000 of these men, women, and children who were forced into a camp in rural southeast Arkansas. The impact of this influx of cultured Japanese-Americans into one of the poorest and most segregated places in this country is examined. Interviews with internees and native Arkansans are included, as well as actor George Takaris’ sthoughts
More info: Film & History website
Focus: Asian-Americans
Topaz
Release date: 1987
Running time: 58 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Documents the denial of rights to American citizens of Japanese descent who were forced from their homes to Utah's desert rangeland during World War II
More info: Teaching Tolerance article about Topaz internment camp
Focus: Asian-Americans
Tuskegee
Release date: 1997
Running time: 23 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Between the years of 1932 and 1971, the U.S. government used approximately 600 blacks from Macon County, Alabama, as human guinea pigs for syphilis research under the guise of treatment for "bad blood." This program includes an interview with one of the last surviving participants, Herman Shaw; explains the role of Nurse Rivers; and presents the medical establishment's justification for disguising racism as legitimate medical research
More info: Film website
Focus: African-Americans
The Tuskegee Airmen: They Fought Two Wars
Release date: 2002
Running time: 60 minutes
Available format: Streaming video
Summary: This inspiring documentary examines the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps, The Tuskegee Airmen. These 450 black men fought the Nazis in World War II and, back in America, they fought prejudice, bigotry, and racism. Extraordinary airmen, they remain today the only fighter group never to have lost one of their bombers to enemy fire. Trained by the segregated military system, their successes led to the integration of the United States armed forces. Included in this program are interviews with some of the original airmen
Focus: African-Americans
Two Towns of Jasper
Release date: 2003
Running time: 83 minutes
Available format: VHS
Summary: In 1998 in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd, Jr., a black man, was chained to a pick-up truck and dragged to his death by three white men. The town was forever altered, and the nation woke up to the horror of a modern-day lynching. In Two Towns f Jasper, two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath of the murder by following the subsequent trials of the local men charged with the crime. The result is an explicit and troubling portrait of race in America, one that asks how and why a crime like this could have occurred.
More info: PBS Online POV program website
Focus: African-Americans
Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
Release date: 2008
Running time: 236 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A four-hour documentary series arguing that "health and longevity are correlated with socioeconomic status, people of color face an additional health burden, and our health and well-being are tied to policies that promote economic and social justice. Each of the half-hour program segments, set in different racial/ethnic communities, provides a deeper exploration of the ways in which social conditions affect population health and how some communities are extending their lives be improving them" -- Container insert
More info: Documentary website
Focus: African-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Arab-Americans
WaWho? Nothing is Sacred
Release date: 2004
Running time: 107 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "The Cleveland American Indian Movement ... presents a documentary about the real Cleveland Indians. The film explores Chief Wahoo's effect on the community and how symbols are used to institutionalize racism."—Container
More info: Cleveland AIM website
Focus: Native-Americans
Wet Sand: Voices from L.A.
Release date: 2004
Running time: 57 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "Dai Sil Kim-Gibson's 1993 documentary Sa-i-gu stands as one of the crucial texts to offer a Korean American perspective on the events surrounding the [1992] Los Angeles riots ... With Wet sand, Kim-Gibson revisits Los Angeles to learn what changes have occurred since then, only to discover that living conditions have deteriorated and that few remedies have been administered to the communities most stricken. Through interviews with a multi-ethnic set of first-hand witnesses, this follow-up probes deeper into the racial and economic issues that not only shaped the climate of 1992 Los Angeles, but continue to affect all Americans today"—Container
More info: The Tribeca Film Institute Reframe Collection-Film website
Focus: Asian Americans, African-Americans
When I Rise
Release date: 2010
Running time: 74 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: When I Rise is the inspiring story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted black mezzo-soprano who, as a music student at the University of Texas, found herself in a civil rights storm that changed her life forever. Barbara had transferred from Prairie View A&M University in the fall of 1956 as part of the first racially integrated undergraduate class at the University of Texas. Shortly after beginning her new life in Austin, Barbara’s innate musical talent attracted the attention of her professors in the School of Music, and she was cast as the romantic lead in the campus rendition of Dido and Aeneas — opposite a white male student. Opposition to the casting decision fueled a racial controversy that traveled from the university campus to the Texas Legislature. Mere days before the opera opened in May 1957, university officials succumbed to pressure from a small group of radical segregationists. The Dean of Fine Arts asked Barbara to step down, and a white student assumed the role of Dido. A flood of media coverage ensued, beginning with the Houston Post and quickly escalating to the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and most notably, a controversial article in Time magazine. Harry Belafonte, an entertainment superstar of the era, read about Barbara, called her at her dorm in Austin, Texas, and the rest — as Barbara says — is history. Although she was raised during the height of the Jim Crow period, Barbara had been nurtured in what historians refer to as a “safe haven” community. Center Point, Texas, was a tiny beacon of culture where education, church, community, and music were the norm, and limitations imposed by the “white world” were held at bay by the community’s nurturing arms. Barbara’s parents were college-educated leaders in the Center Point school system, at the core of which was an all-black boarding school that drew students from across the United States. Her parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all imprinted on Barbara the importance of education and culture. And, within the embrace of her family and tightly knit church community, Barbara had been given a sense of self that would prove to be her life preserver during “the incident” at the University of Texas. This small-town girl, whose voice and spirit stem from her roots in east Texas, emerged as an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano and headlined on stages around the world. In 2009, Barbara returned to Texas and the university, finding the grace and dignity to forgive the past
More info: PBS Online Independent Lens program website
Focus: African-Americans
White Wash
Release date: 2011
Running time: 78 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: White Wash, the documentary, is a film exploring the complexity of race in America through the eyes of the ocean. Examining the history of “black consciousness” as it triumphs and evolves into the minds of black surfers, we learn the power of transcending race as a constructive phenomenon. The story is narrated by the legendary, Grammy Award winner Ben Harper (Fistful of Mercy, Relentless 7, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) along with Tariq “Blackthought” Trotter of the Grammy Award winning hip hop group, The Roots whom also originally scored the film
More info: Film website
Focus: African-Americans
White Scripts and Black Supermen. Black Masculinity in Comic Books
Release date: 2012
Running time: 52 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "A documentary on representations of Black masculinity in comic books; a popular culture genre which existed before television and whose reach extends into other areas of cultural production such as movies and animated TV series. In a serious, lively and humorous manner, the film examines the degree to which some of the first Black superheroes generally adhered to and were burdened by stereotypes about Black men. However, we also witness how some images shifted--oftentimes clumsily--to reflect the changing times. Featured commentary by scholars and cultural critics, producers, writers and artists provides tools for critiquing all media as they introduce and analyze the leading Black comic book superheroes of the late 60s to late 70s including Black Panther, the Falcon, John Stewart (the Green Lantern), Luke Cage and Black Lightning."--Container
More info: Film website
Focus: African-Americans
Yo Soy Boricua, Pa’ que Tu Lo Sepas
Release date: 2006
Running time: 86 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A documentary on Puerto Rico and its relation the U.S. It was the directorial debut of Rosie Perez.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic-Americans

Films on Demand

Films on Demand (FOD) is a streaming video service that University Libraries facilitates for UA's faculty, staff, and students. FOD provides hundreds of documentaries on many subjects. FOD The following link provides a list of current streaming videos that focus on racism within the FOD database: Click here to search the UA Libraries Catalog.

University Libraries' Feature Films for Rethinking Race

Compiled Karen A. Plummer, Electronic Services

American Gangster
Release date: 2008
Running time: 158 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Based on a true story, American Gangster is the story of two men: Frank Lucas, former driver, bouncer, and collector for Bumpy Johnson, the so-called Robin Hood of Harlem; and Richie Roberts, night-school lawyer, detective, and honest cop. Frank is importing heroin direct from Bangkok--by-passing the Italian and Sicilian mafia--undercutting their prices, delivering superior product, and making a fortune. Richie, loathed by cops on the take for turning in a million bucks in unmarked bills found in a suspect’s car, is heading a newly formed Federal investigation force for narcotics, tasked with finding and arresting North American drug kingpins. These two men are destined to meet, a meeting that will change their lives.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
American History X
Release date: 1998
Running time: 119 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: "Derek Vinyard, the charismatic leader of a group of young white supremacists, lands in prison for a brutal, hate-driven murder. Upon his release, ashamed of his past and pledging to reform, Derek realizes he must save his younger brother, Danny, from a similar fate. A groundbreaking controversial drama about the tragic consequences of racism in a family."--container insert
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Antwone Fisher
Release date: 2003
Running time: 120 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Antwone Fisher, 25, is a gentle, soft-spoken seaman in the Navy. Unless he feels he's been disrespected--which prompts furious, violent outbursts that put him on the brink of a dishonorable discharge. Ordered to see a psychiatrist, eventually the story of his childhood in a foster home, where he was both beaten and sexually abused, comes out. Dr. Davenport argues that Antwone needs to deal with his past, find his family, and attain closure. For Antwone, the journey proves agonizing and freeing, as he puts his past behind him and graduates into responsible manhood
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Bamboozled
Release date: 2001
Running time: 136 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: "In a searing parody of American television, Bamboozled takes a humorous look at how race, ratings and the pursuit of power lead to a network executive's stunning rise and tragic downfall."—Container
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
A Better Life
Release date: 2011
Running time: 98 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Carlos Galindo always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border into the U.S. But when his wife left him, Carlos's only goal became to make sure his son Luis was given the opportunities he never had. A story that follows father and son as they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American dream
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
The Blind Side
Release date: 2009
Running time: 128 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager who is from a broken home. Mike is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, Mike faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome-- as both a football player and student. Mike works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Boyz n the Hood
Release date: 1999
Running time: 112 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Three friends struggle to survive in South Central Los Angeles where friendship, pain, danger and love form a true picture of life in "the hood."
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Cadillac Records
Release date: 2008
Running time: 109 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
The Color Purple
Release date: 1985
Running time: 154 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: The heart-wrenching story of a young black girl in the early 20th century who's forced into a brutal marriage and separated from her sister
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Cora Unashamed
Release date: 2000
Running time: 95 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A town's lone African American woman is surrounded by social isolation and deep-seated racism while working as a housekeeper. Set in rural Iowa in the early 1900s, Cora is confronted with death, abortion and loneliness. Working as a domestic, she lives only for her daughter and the neglected child of her employers
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Crash
Release date: 2004
Running time: 122 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles after a car crash. Characters include: a black police detective, two car thieves, a distracted district attorney and his irritated and pampered wife, a racist veteran cop, a successful black Hollywood director and his wife, a Persian-immigrant father who buys a gun to protect his shop, a Hispanic locksmith and his young daughter who is afraid of bullets, and more
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Muslim-Americans
Do the Right Thing
Release date: 1989
Running time: 120 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Traces the course of a single day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. It's the hottest day of the year, a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Driving Miss Daisy
Release date: 1989
Running time: 99 minute
Available format: DVD
Summary: Set in Atlanta in the 1950's, a textile factory owner insists on hiring an ever-patient chauffeur for his aging head-strong mother. The Jewish woman and her African American driver eventually build a relationship over many years
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Finding Forrester
Release date: 2001
Running time: 136 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Jamal Wallace is a talented young basketball player in New York City whose secret passion is writing. After an accidental meeting, Forrester, a reclusive novelist, becomes Jamal's unlikely mentor. Soon, both men learn lessons from each other about life and the importance of friendship
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
For colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf
Release date: 2002
Running time: 80 minutes
Available format: DVD (1982 Stage Play ; 2002 Film/Widescreen) and Streaming video
Summary: A "choreopoem" that portrays the visions and frustrations of six young women who are trying to come to terms with themselves and with being African-American
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Freedom writers
Release date: 2007
Running time: 122 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: A true story about a teacher in a racially divided school who gives her students what they've always needed, a voice. Erin Gruwell comes to a southern California high school bubbling over with naive optimism. She quickly discovers that her unruly classroom is not easily won over by her good intentions. After a few floundering attempts to connect with her students, Gruwell gives them the assignment of keeping journals about their own lives, This assignment is something that the class can bite into with relish. This eventually bonds them together and pushes racial rivalries aside. Draws heavily from the published journals of the real students themselves
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Ghosts of Mississippi
Release date: 1996
Running time: 130 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was murdered in his own driveway. For 30 years his wife worked for the conviction of his assassin
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Glory
Release date: 1989
Running time: 124 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Two idealistic young Bostonians lead the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, America's first Black regiment in the Civil War
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Glory Road
Release date: 2006
Running time: 118 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Don Haskins, a future Hall of Fame coach of tiny Texas Western University, bucks convention by simply starting the best players he can find: history's first all-African American lineup. Also features Don Haskins and many of the players commenting on the critical Texas Western vs. Kentucky National Championship game through the end credits
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Good Hair
Release date: 2010
Running time: 95 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Comedian Chris Rock tackles the very personal issue of hair, and how attaining good hair can impact African Americans' activities, relationships, wallets, and self-esteem. Engages in frank, funny conversations with hair care professionals, beauty shop and barbershop patrons, as well as featuring interviews with Dr. Maya Angelou, Nia Long, Ice-T, Raven Symone, and more
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Gran Torino
Release date: 2009
Running time: 116 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Walt is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors. He is a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor, Thao, a young Hmong teenager, becomes pressured by his gang member cousin to steal Walt's Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Walt is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Asian-Americans
The Great Debaters
Release date: 2008
Running time: 124 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Melvin B. Tolson is a professor at Wiley College in Texas. Wiley is a small African-American college. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school's first debate team. Tolson turns a group of underdog students into a historically elite debate team which goes on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Inspired by a true story
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Release date: 1967
Running time: 107 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Crusading newspaper publisher Matt Drayton's liberal principles are put to the test when his daughter, Joey, announces her engagement to John Prentice, an internationally renowned African-American physician. While Matt's wife, Christina, readily accepts Joey's decision, Matt intends to withhold his consent, forgetting that when it comes to matters of the heart, true love is colorblind
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
The Help
Release date: 2011
Running time: 146 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: In 1960s Mississippi, Skeeter, a southern society girl, returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives, and a small Mississippi town, upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen, Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up, to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Higher Learning
Release date: 1995
Running time: 127 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Imitation of Life
Release date: 1959
Running time: 125 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: This film "chronicles two widows and their troubled daughters as they struggle to find true happiness amidst racial prejudice. Lora [is] a single white mother whose Hollywood starlet ambitions come at the expense of any meaningful relationship with her daughter, Susie. Lora's black housekeeper, Annie, has troubles of her own as she faces the rejection of her own fair-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane, who abandons her heritage for a chance to be accepted as white. As years of selfishness and denial pass, tragedy strikes and forces the women to come to terms with their own identities."--Container.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
In the Heat of the Night
Release date: 1967
Running time: 110 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A small town Southern sheriff finds himself in an uneasy alliance with a big-city black homicide detective as they investigate a murder
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Jasper, Texas
Release date: 2003
Running time: 114 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: June 1998, in the sleepy town of Jasper, TX, three young, self-styled white supremists overpower a 49-year-old black man named James Byrd Jr., chained him to the back of their pickup, and literally drag him to death. As the frenzy of the media continues, the relationship between the white and black residents of Jasper is severely strained. Two decent men are at the center of the investigation: R.C. Horn, the first black mayor of Jasper, and Billy Rowles, the town's white sheriff. Instead of being wrenched apart, the black and white communities of Jasper draw closer together than they have ever been
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Malcolm X
Release date: 1992
Running time: 201 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Screen version of the life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Miracle at St. Anna
Release date: 2009
Running time: 160 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: August 1944. Follows four black soldiers of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division who get trapped near the small Tuscan village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema on the Gothic Line during the Italian Campaign of World War II. One of the men will risk his life to save an Italian boy who lives in the city where the Waffen-SS have massacred most of the citizens of the town in retaliation for Italian partisan activity. A sculpted head from the Ponte Santa Trinita in Florence is a focal point
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
La Misma Luna
Release date: 2008
Running time: 110 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while Rosario's mother cares for Carlitos in Mexico. Mother and son face daunting challenges and obstacles to reunite, but are sustained by their constant hope of finally being together again
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Miss Evers’ Boys
Release date: 1997
Running time: 118 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "It is 1932 when loyal, devoted Nurse Eunice Evers is invited to work with Dr. Brodus and Dr. Douglas on a federally funded program to treat syphilis patients in Alabama. Free treatment is offered to those who test positive for the disease, including Caleb Humphries and Willie Johnson. But when the government withdraws its support, money is offered for what will become known as 'The Tuskegee Experiment'; a study of the effects of syphilis on patients who don't receive treatment. Now the men must be led to believe they are being cared for, when in fact they are being denied the medicine that could cure them. Miss Evers is faced with a terrible dilemma - to abandon the experiment and tell her patients or to remain silent and offer only comfort" – Container
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Mississippi Burning
Release date: 1988
Running time: 127 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Set in Mississippi in 1964, this is a fictionalized version of the case of the murder of three young civil rights workers, the FBI's attempts to find the missing boys and the clash between the authorities and the locals in a Klan-dominated town
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Monster’s Ball
Release date: 2001
Running time: 100 minutes
Available format: DVD (Unrated version, Widescreen version) and Streaming video
Summary: Hank and Leticia inhabit stark, queasy realities of the contemporary South, he as a death row corrections officer and she as the soon-to-be widow of an inmate whose execution Hank helps conduct. In the aftermath of the execution, both lose their children to tragic deaths and they form an unlikely bond
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Mooz-lum
Release date: 2011
Running time: 100 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Amid a strict Muslim rearing and a social life he's never had, Tariq enters college confused. New peers, family, and mentors help him find his place, but the 9-11 attacks force him to face his past and make the biggest decisions of his life
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Muslim-Americans
Native Son
Release date: 1951
Running time: 89 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Adaptation of the classic novel by Richard Wright. Set in Chicago, Native son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young black man who accidentally murders his employer's daughter while performing his duties as chauffeur. The combined forces of institutional racism and condescending white liberalism pursue Thomas to an unhappy end. The author plays the leading role in this film version
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
O
Release date: 2006
Running time: 94 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: "An update of Othello with a teen cast, and set in a high school. Moving the classic tale of Othello onto the basketball courts of a high school, the story focuses on a young black man named Odin who is convinced by a conniving best friend, Hugo, that his girlfriend is cheating on him ... What Odin doesn't know is that Hugo is in fact motivated by his own jealousy of Odin's good fortune ..."--Internet Movie Database
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Precious
Release date: 2009,
Running time: 109 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: In 1987, obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old Claireece 'Precious' Jones lives in Harlem with her dysfunctional family. She has been raped and impregnated twice by her father, Carl. She suffers constant physical, mental and sexual abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary. After getting pregnant for the second time, Precious is suspended from her school. Her principal arranges to have her attend an alternative school where her new teacher, Ms. Rain, helps Precious learn to read and she responds to this glimmer of hope. Precious also meets Mrs. Weiss, a social worker, who discovers the abuse and incest that Precious has had to endure. Her father dies of AIDS and Precious learns that she is now HIV-positive
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Pride
Release date: 2007
Running time: 109 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Based on the true story of inner city Philadelphia swim coach Jim Ellis. From his roots in Salisbury, North Carolina, Ellis goes on to build a swim team in one of Philly's toughest neighborhoods in the 1970s
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
The Pursuit of Happyness
Release date: 2007
Running time: 117 minutes
Available format: DVD (Full screen edition; Widescreen edition) and Streaming video
Summary: Chris Gardner is an intelligent, energetic guy who can't catch a break. In the sluggish Bay Area economy of 1981, he's losing ground, by investing all his family's money in high cost bone-density scanners. His wife leaves him, he loses his apartment, and with his 5-year-old son in tow joins the ranks of the homeless, if not the hopeless. Bounced from shelter to shelter, he finds himself a single dad who has to support and care for a young child. Impressing a Dean Witter higher-up by solving a Rubik's cube during a taxi ride, Chris gets a place in a stockbroker-training program. But internships don't pay, and there's no guarantee he'll be offered a job at the end of it. Against all odds, he pushes toward success, and eventually turns his life around
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
A Raisin in the Sun
Release date: 1961
Running time: 128 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Film of the award-winning play about a struggling black family living on Chicago's South Side and the impact of an unexpected insurance bequest. Each family member sees the bequest as the means of realizing dreams and of escape from grinding frustrations
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
A Raisin in the Sun
Release date: 2008 (remake)
Running time: 131, minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: An African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago comes into a sudden financial windfall, the potential uses of which divide them bitterly
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Ray
Release date: 2005
Running time: 153 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Ray Charles went blind at the age of seven. Inspired by his mother who insisted he make his own way, he found his calling at the keyboard. 'Ray' follows as he overcomes drug addiction while becoming one of the country's most beloved performers
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Redemption
Release date: 2004
Running time: 93 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: While awaiting execution in prison, Stan 'Tookie' Williams, founder of the L.A. Crips street gang, denounces the lifestyle that landed him behind bars. Determined to stop violence, he begins writing anti-gang books for children, earning him critical acclaim - and four Nobel Peace Prize nominations
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Red Tails
Release date: 2012
Running time: 125 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Reel Bad Arabs
Release date: 2006
Running time: 50 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Throughout its history Hollywood has portrayed Arabs as buffoons or bandits. The video seeks to rectify this stereotyping by comparing it to other forms of racist imagery and by suggesting alternative narratives that treat the Arabs as human, not demons
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Arab-Americans
Remember the Titans
Release date: 2000
Running time: 120 minutes
Available format: DVD (Director's Cut; Fullscreen edition) and Streaming video
Summary: A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. A rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-American
Rosewood
Release date: 2007
Running time: 142 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: "It is January 1, 1923 in Rosewood, but in this largely black town built on family, faith and hard work, hopes for the New Year abruptly end. In a few harrowing nights, a white mob razes Rosewood into oblivion. As the rampage gains cataclysmic force, a heroic World [War] I veteran and a shopkeeper join forces. Dozens of terrified women and children have fled into nearby swamps. Somehow they must be led to safety."--Container insert
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African American
Secret Life of Bees
Release date: 2008
Running time: 110 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: "To escape her cruel, angry father, and discover the truth about her late mother's past, 14-year-old Lily Owens fells with her caregiver and friend Rosaleen to a South Carolina town where she's taken in by the bee-keeping Boatwright sisters. Surrounded by the unexpected love, grace and spirituality she encounters there, Lily forms a bond with each of these uniquely gifted women and discovers that sometimes you must leave home in order to find it."--container insert
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
7 soles
Release date: 2009
Running time: 87 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: El Negro gets hired to smuggle a group of undocumented migrants into the United States. When he claims this will be his last trip because he wants out of the business, his superiors become suspicious and send a younger smuggler to keep an eye on him. The two fight during the troubled crossing, and eventually lose part of their human cargo. El Negro now finds himself on the run from his former associates and the law
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Sin Nombre
Release date: 2009
Running time: 96 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: A teenage Honduran girl forms an unlikely friendship with a Mexican gang member who is helping to smuggle her family into the United States
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic Americans
Slam
Release date: 1998
Running time: 103 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Trapped in Dodge City, a drug-infested war zone in southeast Washington D.C., Ray Joshua gets caught up in a drug deal gone bad and is sucked into the criminal justice system. In jail he finds truth in himself and his craft through Lauren Bell, a beautiful and charismatic writing teacher who leads him to the path of salvation. Using his talent for poetic rap, Ray learns to survive and rise above the pain of his lost generation
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
A Soldier’s Story
Release date:: 1999
Running time: 97 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: A black army attorney is sent to Fort Neal, Louisiana, near the end of World War II to investigate the murder of Sgt. Waters, a black man who despised his own roots
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Something New
Release date: 2006
Running time: 100 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: Kenya McQueen is a successful African-American CPA, working her way to the top of the corporate ladder -- but her life has become all work and no play. Urged on by her friends to try something new and to let go of her dream of the "ideal black man," she accepts a blind date with an architectural landscaper named Brian, only to cut the date short upon first sight, because Brian is white. The two meet again at a party, and Kenya hires Brian to landscape her new home. Over time, they hit it off, but Kenya's reservations about the acceptance their romance will find among her friends and family threatens everything. An intelligent romantic comedy that chooses to deal with issues of race and perception in a straight-forward way, from a point of view not often seen: that of a successful, upper-class black woman.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Something the Lord Made
Release date: 2004
Running time: 110 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Tells the emotional true story of two men who defined the rules of their time to launch a medical revolution, set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow south. Working in 1940s Baltimore on an unprecedented technique for performing heart surgery on "blue babies", Dr. Alfred Blalock and lab technician Vivien Thomas from an impressive team. As Blalock and Thomas invent a new field of medicine, saving thousands of lives in the process, social pressures threaten to undermine their collaboration and tear them apart
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Soul Food
Release date: 2000
Running time: 114 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Sunday dinner at Mother Joe's is a mouth-watering, 40-year tradition. As seen through the eyes of her grandson Ahmad, love and laughs are always on the menu, despite the usual rivalries simmering between his mom Maxine and her sisters Teri and Bird. But when serious bickering starts to tear the family apart, the good times suddenly stop. Now it's up to Ahmad to get everyone back together and teach them the true meaning of soul food
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Spanglish
Release date: 2004
Running time: 131 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: When Flor and her daughter, Christina come to the United States, Flor gets a job as a maid at the home of a successful chef John Clasky, his insecure wife Deborah, their two children, and Deborah's mother. Despite Flor's lack of an English, she does the best she can to assist the Clasky family in more than just house cleaning matters. However, when Flor is forced to live with the family over the summer, she has no choice but to bring Christina along. Deborah, much to Flor's disliking, treats Christina much like her own and at the same time she hurts the feelings of her own daughter, Bernice. When John's dreams begin to unravel, he begins to feel like his whole world is coming down around him. Told through Christina's college letter to Princeton University, Christina learns that things come and go in life, but family is the most important thing a person can have.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Hispanic-Americans
Talk to Me
Release date: 2007
Running time: 118 minutes
Available format: Streaming video
Summary: A look at the life and career of charismatic Washington D.C.-area radio personality Ralph "Petey" Green, who was renowned for his "tell it like it is" approach to politics and race
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
10,000 Black Men Named George
Release date: 2002
Running time: 89 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: The true story of the formation of the first black-controlled union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Asa Philip Randolph, a black journalist establishes a voice for the forgotten workers of the Pullman Rail Company, were all black porters were simply named "George", after George Pullman, the first person to employ emancipated slaves
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Release date: 2005
Running time: 113 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the mores of her small town
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
A Time to Kill
Release date: 2000
Running time: 150 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: A murder trial brings a small Mississippi town's racial tensions to the flashpoint. Amid a frenzy of activist marches, Klan terror, media clamor and brutal riots, an unseasoned but idealistic young attorney mounts a stirring courtroom battle for justice
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
To Kill a Mockingbird
Release date: 1998
Running time: 130 minutes
Available format: DVD and Streaming video
Summary: The setting is a dusty Southern town during the Depression. A white woman accuses a black man of rape. Though he is obviously innocent, the outcome of his trial is such a foregone conclusion that no lawyer will step forward to defend him--except the town's most distinguished citizen. His compassionate defense costs him many friendships but earns him the respect and admiration of his two motherless children
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
Turbans
Release date: 2000
Running time: 29 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: Based on the memoirs of the film-maker's grandmother, this film explores the inner struggles of an Asian Indian immigrant family torn between their cultural traditions and a desire for social acceptance. Members of one of the first East Indian families to settle on the West Coast of America, the Singh boys are taunted for the turbans they wear, a tradition sacred to their Sikh ancestors. In the prejudiced landscape of 1918 Astoria, Oregon, however, the turbans serve only to identify them as outsiders
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: Asian-Americans
The Tuskegee Airmen
Release date: 1995
Running time: 116 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: It is 1943 and the Germans are winning the Second World War as the U.S. suffers huge losses on the ground and in the air. Four newly recruited pilots are united by a desire to serve their country, at a time when Black flyers are not welcomed in the Air Force. Now, through the brutal demands of their training, to the perils of flying over nations at war, the men they call "The Tuskegee Airmen" must undertake the riskiest mission of their lives--to prove to America that courage knows no color. Their success could earn them respect, save lives and help win a terrible war. Their failure could destroy more hopes and dreams than their own
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans
White Man’s Burden
Release date: 1995
Running time: 89 minutes
Available format: DVD
Summary: The story takes place in alternative America where the blacks are members of social elite, and whites are inhabitants of inner city ghettos. Louis Pinnock is a white worker in a chocolate factory, loving husband and father of two children. While delivering a package for black CEO Thaddeus Thomas, he is mistaken for a voyeur and, as a result, loses his job, gets beaten by black cops and his family gets evicted from their home. Desperate Pinnock takes a gun and kidnaps Thomas, demanding justice.
More info: Internet Movie Database
Focus: African-Americans