Black History Month Films @ Your Library

By Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Published on 11 February, 2021

Studying history allows us to learn from the past and appreciate the present in order to build a better future. In the month of February, as we celebrate Black history and culture, CSN Libraries can help contribute to the conversations by sharing our academic resources on Black history.

Sometimes visual media has more impact than words alone, so watching films can be a great way to explore and really start to understand the importance of Black History month. The library’s Kanopy Videos collection is a place to find educational videos from such popular companies as PBS, HBO, The HISTORY channel, and The Criterion Collection. They also put together 56 videos in a Black History Month collection to share with students.

The collection begins by promoting history in general. Top films include:

Slavery and the Making of America - A four-episode documentary series on the history of American slavery.

Ethnic Notions: African American Stereotypes and Prejudice – An Emmy Award-winning documentary covering the history of American black stereotypes and anti-black prejudice.

I Am Not Your Negro – An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson that examines race in America.

You can also find films about the history of black colleges, the history of jazz music, and more.

The next films listed fall under the category of “Major Figures.” You may have heard of Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali, and Jackie Robison, but have you heard of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, freedom rider Bayard Rustin, or playwright Lorraine Hansberry? From activists to musicians and everything in between, there are many Black figures here worth learning more about.

The final category in Kanopy’s Black History Month collection is labeled “Current Events,” and where you’ll find multiple documentaries on each topic ranging from Black student challenges to police violence. You can also view the 2016 Best Picture Oscar winner, Moonlightthrough this collection as well.

Whether you’re working on a related assignment, or just want to learn more about Black lives, Kanopy films can expose you to a variety of topics, people, and moments in time to be remembered this month and all year long.