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Required Viewing: Stories About Racial Oppression

2018 documentary, "Whose Streets?" Magnolia Pictures


13th (Netflix)


Referring to the 13th amendment, which reads "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary takes an in-depth look at the U.S. prison system and reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

Whose Streets? (Hulu)

Magnolia Pictures

A close-up look at the police killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown and how it inspired a community in Ferguson, Missouri, to fight and start a global movement.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)


An investigation into the mysterious death of Black transgender activist, Marsha P. Johnson, and a celebration of her political legacy.

The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 (Amazon Prime)

Louverture Films

Found footage examining America’s Black Power Movement between 1967 and 1975.

The Innocence Files (Netflix)


2020’s Netflix docuseries shares the personal stories of eight wrongful convictions that The Innocence Project have worked to overturn.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Hulu)

Perfect Day Films

A look at the life of legendary storyteller, Toni Morrison, and the works and themes she confronted during her literary career.

I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime)

Magnolia Pictures

Samuel L. Jackson serves as narrator for James Baldwin’s story of race in modern America from his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

Paris is Burning (Available to Rent or Buy)


Through New York’s drag balls of the late 1980’s, this doc dives into the transgender subculture with exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

Time: The Kalief Browder Story (Netflix)


A six-episode docuseries recounting the story of Kalief Browder, a high school student who was imprisoned for three years without being convicted of a crime.

Slavery by Another Name (Available to Rent or Buy)


Historian, Sam Pollard, recounts the many ways in which American slavery persisted decades after its supposed abolition.

Soundtrack for a Revolution (Vudu, Available to Rent or Buy)

Freedom Song Productions

The story of the Civil Rights Movement brought to life through the music it inspired, and that inspired it.

Strong Island (Netflix)


The Oscar-nominated doc explores the grief and racial injustice caused by the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford's brother in 1992. 

The Loving Story (HBO/HBO Max)


Follow the real-life love story between Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested for violating a state law that banned interracial marriage, and became unlikely civil rights pioneers.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (Netflix)


The life of singer, pianist, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone.

“The Racial Wealth Gap” - Explained (Netflix)


An exploration of how slavery, housing discrimination, and centuries of inequality created a racial wealth gap.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (Shudder)


The history of Black horror films and the role of African Americans in the film genre.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Netflix)


The in-depth look at Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance from creative concept to cultural movement by celebrating Black culture and Black history. 


Dear White People (Amazon Prime)

Homegrown Pictures

Follow a group of African American students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college.

Just Mercy (Rent for free on digital platforms in the US for the month of June)

Warner Bros.

Based on the memoir of the same name, Civil Rights defense attorney, Bryan Stevenson, works to appeal a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)

Annapurna Pictures

In 1970’s Harlem, a young couple, Tish and Fonny, dream of a future together, but plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.

Queen & Slim (Available to Rent or Buy)

Universal Pictures

A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over for a minor traffic infraction and a captured video goes viral.

Selma (FX Now)

Pathé / Harpo Films

A drama chronicling the three-month period when Dr. Martin Luther King led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in 1965, leading to an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

BlacKkKlansman (HBO/HBO Max)

Focus Features

The true story of Colorado Spring’s first African American detective who infiltrates a local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a colleague.

Get Out (Available to Rent or Buy)

Universal Pictures

A young African American man visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his initial uneasiness about their reception becomes a disturbing discovery that he never could have imagined.

Boyz n the Hood (Showtime)

Columbia Pictures

The trials and tribulations of three young males living in South Central Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence, and future prospects.

Moonlight (Netflix)


Barry Jenkins’ 2016 drama looks at three chapters in the life of Chiron, a young Black man growing up in Miami who struggles with his identity and sexuality.

Malcolm X (Netflix)

Warner Bros.

A tribute to controversial Black Nationalist leader, Malcolm X, from his early life to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Fruitvale Station (The Roku Channel)

Significant Productions

Based on the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant III, the film follows the last day of Grant’s life before being fatally shot by the BART police on New Year’s Day 2009.

The Hate U Give (MaxGo, Cinemax via Amazon)

20th Century Fox

After witnessing the fatal shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer, a young girl stands up for what’s right.

Hidden Figures (FX Now)

Fox 2000

The untold story of a team of female African American mathematicians, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, who served a vital role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Do the Right Thing (Available to Rent or Buy)

Universal Pictures

Spike Lee’s 1989 film explores a Brooklyn neighborhood's simmering racial tension, which culminates in violence and a death on a hot summer day.

Glory Road (Disney+)

Walt Disney Pictures

The inspiring true story of an underdog basketball team, with history's first all African American starting lineup of players, who took the country by storm; earning the 1966 NCAA tournament title.

Remember the Titans (Disney+)

Walt Disney Pictures

Yet another true story -- A newly appointed Black coach guides a high school football team during their first season as an integrated unit in the early 1970’s.


When They See Us (Netflix)


Ava DuVernay’s limited series tells the story of five teens known as the “Central Park Five” who were falsely accused of an assault and rape in New York’s Central Park in 1989. Based on a true story.

Dear White People (Netflix)


Similar to its 2014 film predecessor, the Netflix series returns to Winchester University and follows students of color navigating social injustice and cultural bias.

Watchmen (HBO/HBO Max)


The HBO comic book series tells the story of the racist terror of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre through the eyes of Black characters, combined with a present-day fight against white supremacy.

Atlanta (Hulu)


Earn and his cousin Alfred, a.k.a Paper Boi, try to work their way through the Atlanta rap scene; coming face to face with social, economic, and racial issues.

Underground (Hulu)

WGN America

On the brink of Civil War, the historical drama follows American heroes and their moving journey to freedom.

Pose (Netflix, Season 2 arrives June 11)


Set in New York City in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s , the FX drama spotlights the Black and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ball scene; exploring life, society, the AIDS crisis, and chosen family.

Roots - 1977 or 2016 (2016 version on Hulu, 1977 version available to Rent or Buy on Amazon)


The dramatization of Alex Haley’s novel follows Haley’s ancestors from Africa into slavery, and ultimately, their freedom in the post-Civil War South.

Queen Sugar (Hulu)


OWN’s drama follows three siblings who claim an inheritance (an 800-acre sugarcane farm) from their departed father. Over the show’s four seasons, it has confronted issues such as the national anthem protests and police brutality from the Black perspective.

The Boondocks (HBO Max, Adult Swim)

Adult Swim

Based on the comic strip of the same name, the animated series follows the adventures of two Black boys who experience a culture clash when they move from Southside Chicago to the “boondocks” to live with their grandfather.

“Hope” - Black-ish (Hulu)


Dre and Bow aren't sure how to respond when the kids ask tough questions about a controversial court case involving alleged police brutality.

“Juneteenth” - Black-ish (Hulu)


An 1865 version of the Johnson family celebrates June 19th, the day slaves were told they were freed in the U.S.

“Mistaken Identity” - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (HBO Max)


While Philip and Vivian go on a trip to Palm Springs in Mr. Furth’s helicopter, Will and Carlton get pulled over for “stealing” Mr. Furth's car.

“True Colors” - That’s So Raven (Disney+)

Disney Channel

It’s Black History Month and Victor wants Corey to understand African-American history. Meanwhile, Raven believes she hasn’t been hired at a clothing store due to the color of her skin, so she sets out to prove it.

“The Animals” & Season 5 - Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)


Alliances shift among the prison "families" as Piscatella and his guards crack down; leaving one inmate dead. Season 5 deals with the aftermath, which results in a prison riot.

“Moo Moo” - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Hulu)


Terry and Holt have different ideas for dealing with a fellow police officer who created trouble for Terry in his own neighborhood while off-duty.