Top 10 Black history movies


courtesy of IMDb

A majority of films lack the true struggles and experiences of the Black community. Out of the short amount that recognize these hardships, several unfortunately lack accuracy when portraying the lives of the minority. These 10 movies show the realistic struggles of African-Americans that other films continuously ignore.

Tori Altamirano, Reporter

For the first time in cinematic history, Edwin S. Porter directed a movie starring the first African-American lead to ever appear on screen. He ignored the current stereotypes that implied African-Americans could only represent roles such as Tom, coon, buck, mammy and mulatto. “The Railroad Porter” was released in 1912 and stands as the first film with an all-Black cast. These movies started a trend of African-American representation in films all over the world.

10.”Hotel Rwanda”

In 2004, Terry George directed this historical drama film which starred Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina. This movie documented Rusesabagina’s efforts to save his family along with over 1,000 Tutsi and Hutu Rwandan refugees in the Belgian-owned hotel, The Hôtel des Mille Collines

9.”Malcolm X”

Spike Lee directed the historic film, “Malcolm X” which came out in November of 1992. This movie tracked the spiritual journey of a charismatic, Black, Muslim teacher, preacher and activist.  

8.”Hidden Figures”

Directed by Theodore Melfi, “Hidden Figures” tells the true story of three brilliant African-American women. The women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson used their intelligence to help advance the US in the Space Race.

7.”The Help”

“The Help” explores the ways racism pervaded every aspect of life in the 1960s. The movie includes subjects from the Jim Crow laws that sanctioned discrimination and segregation as official policy to casual conversations between middle-class white women. 

“I am currently reading ‘The Help’ and I truly believe it does an amazing job at displaying the different perspectives [on] what life was like during the civil rights movement in the South.” sophomore Zaria Dunn said.


Harriet” shows the true story of African-American abolitionist and social activist, Harriet Tubman. The film details the way Tubman saved people and her use of the Underground Railroad, which consisted of a network full of antislavery activists and safe houses.

5.”A Raisin in the Sun”

A film centered on a play written by Lorraine Hansberry revealed the effects of racial prejudice on the fulfillment of an African-American family’s dreams. Daniel Petrie sets the movie in the aftermath of World War II as the family faces their own war against racism in their hometown.

4.”The Hate U Give”

Based on a book by Angie Thomas, this film tells the story of a teenage girl who tries to survive in an era full of racism, police brutality and activism. The story begins in the modern world, encouraging young colored viewers to watch and relate.

“The hate you give is my favorite movie that truly represents African Americans. It covers racism and other sensitive topics that society tends to shy away from. You can learn a lot from this movie as well as learning more about Black culture and how our community gets treated or viewed,” sophomore Najalae Griffith said.

3.”I Am Not Your Negro”

This documentary represents the journey into Black history that connects the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement. The film also questions Black representation in Hollywood and beyond. 

2.”4 Little Girls”

This film perfectly documents the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The guilty Ku Klux Klan members ended the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley.


“Passing” tells the story of a light-skinned African American woman, Irene Redfield. Redfield’s life falls apart after seeing a childhood friend of hers living the life of a white woman. This friend built an entire life existing as a white woman, but in truth identifies as an African-American.


The Black community greatly appreciates movies that represent the realistic history and trauma African-Americans endured. These movies display African American experiences and allow people of all ethnicities to embrace and educate themselves while watching.