It’s important for families to discuss race, racism, and cultural differences at home. Children are curious and may have questions about these topics. They need to feel comfortable asking parents/family members any questions they have, and parents/family members should be comfortable answering those questions.
It is important to teach your children about black history. Black History Month is a great opportunity to discuss the Civil Rights Movement, important African American people in history, segregation, and acceptance of different cultures.
Watching a movie with your child is a good way to introduce the topic of race and black history. Many of these movies can be found on local network television during black history month or on streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Disney +, Netflix, or Hulu.
Here is our list of Black History Month Movies to watch with kids
Young Children Elementary School
March on! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World
This Scholastic Storybook movie focuses on Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. It includes narrations of children’s books about the Civil Rights Movement and different events in African American history. Great to watch with young children.
The Journey of Henry Box Brown
This animated short film tells the true story of a slave who shipped himself to freedom in a crate. Brown tells his story to a bird and other animals to help them understand the concept of freedom. He discusses the harsh conditions of slavery and the idea that no one is free unless everyone is free in a way that young children can understand.
Garrett’s Gift tells the story about African American inventor Garrett Morgan. Garrett had many patents and inventions from hair products to the traffic light and gas mask. The story narrated by Queen Latifah teaches viewers that everyone is born with a special gift and that it is important to give that gift back to the world. Features illustrations by Coretta Scott Kings and Gregory Christie and music by Coati Mundi of Kids Creole and the Coconuts.
Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story
This animated short tells the story of Janet Collins the first African American ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House. This short movie discusses racism as Janet was asked to paint her face white to blend in with the other dances. It is a great short movie and easy for young children to understand.
The Color of Friendship
Disney’s The Color of Friendship came out in 2000. It is about two people from very different places and backgrounds becoming friends. Mahree white is from South Africa with apartheid system view was chosen to spend a semester of school in Washington with Piper’s family. Mahree did not know the family she would be staying with was black and Piper’s family did not know that Mahree was white. Through the many differences and struggles between the girls, they become friends.
Older Children Middle School/High School
2016 Hidden Figures is based on a true story of three African-American women who made very important contributions to NASA during the ’50s and ’60s that helped launch a space flight program.
Ruby Bridges is a movie about pride and courage and is great to watch with the whole family. This Disney movie is based on a true story about a 6-year-old girl named Ruby who was chosen to be the 1st African American girl to be integrated into an all-white school in 1960s New Orleans. Ruby faces racism but she shows bravery by continuing to go to school to get a better education.
Remember the Titans
This inspirational movie tells the true story of a newly integrated high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia. The film shows racial tensions and segregation in the town. The team must learn how to get along and work and play together as a team.
42 is the story about Jackie Robinson. The first African American Major League Baseball player in the 20th century. In the movie, you will see how he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball
Selma is a historical drama taking place in 1965 when black people were still fighting for the right to vote. Despite opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King, Hosea Williams and John Lewis led voter marches directed by James Bevel. It focuses on the march from Selma to Montgomery and their efforts in having President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Pride is an inspirational sports movie that tells the story of the only African American swim team in 1960’s North Carolina. It shows how the African American team dealt with racism head-on. This is a great movie for middle school and high school students.
To Kill a Mockingbird
(1962) This movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. The movie is about a white lawyer defending a black man who was accused of raping a white girl in Alabama.
(2013) The butler was based on the life of Eugene Allen a black man who worked as a butler at the White House for 34 years. He eventually retired from the White House as head butler in 1986. It shows Allen’s perspective on social and political events that took place while he was working at the White House
The Great Debaters
The Great Debaters is based on a true story about a debate team from a historically black college to move on to challenge a Harvard team. Taking place in 1935 the team faces racism, segregation and Jim Crow Laws.