As Black History Month unfolds, it offers a valuable opportunity for families to engage in meaningful conversations about cultural diversity and heritage.
One impactful way to initiate these discussions is through the power of cinema. This article explores the best movies to watch with kids during Black History Month, providing a curated selection of entertaining and educational films.
By sharing these cinematic experiences with your children, you open the door to conversations about the rich tapestry of African-American history, fostering understanding, empathy, and a celebration of cultural differences. It’s a journey that goes beyond entertainment, creating a space for families to connect and learn together.
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. Let’s dive into our list of the best Black History Month movies to watch with kids.
Here is our list of Black History Month Movies to watch with kids
Young Children Elementary School
This Scholastic Storybook movie focuses on Martin Luther King Jr., 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. It’s great to watch with young children.
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 of African American inventor Garrett Morgan. Garrett had many patents and inventions, from hair products to traffic lights and gas masks.
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 is asked to paint her face white to blend in with the other dancers. 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, from South Africa with an 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 and 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 shows bravery by continuing to go to school to get a better education. The book Ruby Bridges is also great.
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.
The movie focuses on the march from Selma to Montgomery and their efforts to have President Lyndon Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Pride is an inspirational sports movie about the only African American swim team in 1960s 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 that moved on to challenge a Harvard team. Taking place in 1935, the team faces racism, segregation, and Jim Crow Laws.
Family-Friendly Movies for Black History Month
These Family-Friendly Movies offer a gateway to meaningful conversations, cultural understanding, and a celebration of diversity. Through cinematic narratives that captivate young minds, we entertain and educate, ensuring that the spirit of Black history resonates with the next generation.
Let Black History Month be a time of connection, reflection, and appreciation as families come together to enjoy these enriching films, fostering unity and awareness. Family-friendly movies for Black History Month serve as a powerful tool to instill values of inclusivity and inspire a collective journey toward a more harmonious future.