Films, Civil Rights Movements

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • 40 Years Later: Now Can We Talk?

    • Film. By Lee Anne Bell and Markie Hancock. 2013.
      This DVD and discussion guide offer a powerful way to engage students, teachers, and community groups in honest dialogue about the ongoing problems of racism and what we can do to address them.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974 | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Alcatraz Is Not an Island

    • Film. By James M. Fortier. 2001. 60 min.
      Documentary on a small group of Native American students and “Urban Indians” who occupied Alcatraz Island in November 1969, and how it forever changed the way Native Americans viewed themselves, their culture and their sovereign rights.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974 | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Native American | Reading Levels: High School
    • Anne Braden: Southern Patriot (1924-2006)

    • Film. Produced by Anne Lewis. 75 min. 2012.
      Documentary about Southern activist Anne Braden.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Labor, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • At the River I Stand

    • Film. Directed by David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven Ross. 1993. 58 min.
      Documentary film on the African American sanitation workers’ 1968 fight for human dignity and a living wage in Memphis.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Labor, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (DVD) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

    • Film. By Stanley Nelson. 2015. 1 hour 55 min.
      Documentary on the Black Panther Party.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Boycott

    • Film. By Clark Johnson. 2001. 120 min.
      Dramatic account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

    • Film. Produced by Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer. 2002. 83 min.
      Documentary about the life of peace, labor, and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Labor, LGBT, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • COINTELPRO 101

    • Film. By Freedom Archives. 2011. 60 min.
      A primer to the FBI’s covert Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), featuring interviews by people targeted in the operation.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Latino, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Organizing, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Counter Histories

    • Website.
      Five short films that document the civil disobedience staged at segregated lunch counters in the 1950s and 60s.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock

    • Film. Directed by Sharon LaCruise. 2011. 54 min.
      Documentary on the life of Daisy Bates, best know for her role with the Little Rock Nine.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Women's History |
    • Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1985

    • Film. Produced by Henry Hampton. Blackside. 1987. 360 min.
      Comprehensive documentary history of the Civil Rights Movement.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • The FBI's War on Black America

    • Film. By Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller. 1990. 47 min.
      Documentary of people targeted by the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) in the 1960s and 70s.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights | Reading Levels: High School
    • February One

    • Film. Produced by Dr. Steven Channing. 2004. 61 min.
      The story surrounding the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • Freedom on My Mind

    • Film. Directed Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. Written by Michael Chandler. 1994. 110 min.
      The story of the Mississippi freedom movement in the early 1960s.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974 | Themes: Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Freedom Riders

    • Film. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2011. 120 minutes.
      A first-hand look at the 1961 rides from the Freedom Riders themselves and others who were there.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Freedom Song

    • Film. By Phil Alden Robinson. 2006. 117 min.
      Based on the actual history of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), student activism, and voter registration in McComb, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Movement.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • Freedom Summer
    • Freedom Summer

    • Film. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2014. 120 minutes.
      Documentary about 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Malcolm X: "Message to the Grass Roots"

    • Film clip. Voices of a People’s History.
      Dramatic reading of Malcolm X’s “Message to the Grass Roots” (1963) by Mos Def.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship | Reading Levels: High School
    • Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Film) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Malcolm X: Make It Plain

    • Film. Written by Steve Fayer and Orlando Bagwell. 1994. 2 hours, 18 min.
      Documentary film on the life and words of Malcolm X/ El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Mighty Times: The Children's March

    • Film. By Hudson and Houston. Teaching Tolerance. 2005. 40 minutes.
      This Academy Award-winning documentary film tells the heroic story of the young people in Birmingham, Alabama, who brought segregation to its knees.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Murder of Emmett Till

    • Film. Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2003. 60 min.
      Documentary on the murder of teenager Emmett Till and the actions of Mamie Till Bradley which helped launch the modern Civil Rights Movement.

    • Resource Types: Films | Themes: Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Reconstruction: The Second Civil War

    • Film. By Elizabeth Deane and Dion Graham. 2004. 174 min.
      Through the voices of several historians and dramatic re-enactments by actors, PBS’s Reconstruction: The Second Civil War uses the stories of ordinary citizens to paint a picture of the Reconstruction era.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity |
    • Ruby Bridges

    • Film. Directed by Euzhan Palcy. 1998. 96 minutes.
      The true story of Ruby Bridges, the six-year-old girl who helped to integrate the all-white schools in New Orleans.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968

    • Film. Produced by Judy Richardson and Bestor Cram. 2009. 57 minutes.
      A documentary film that brings to light the story of the attack by state police on a demonstration in Orangeburg, South Carolina — leaving three students killed and 28 injured.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot

    • Film. Produced by Bill Brummel. Teaching Tolerance. 2015. 40 min.
      Documentary about the students and teachers of Selma, Alabama who fought for voting rights.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
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