I’ll never forget how it felt being the only black kid in my 5th grade class as we listened to a lesson on slavery. I wasn’t taught much Black History at home, so much of what I learned was in school, and you can imagine that was extremely limited. It felt uncomfortable. And I never want that for my kids.
I’ve made a consistent effort to have discussions and lessons with my kids about various points in Black History so that they can feel empowered and inspired by where we come from. I was so impressed with Jayda when she proudly shared about her ancestors who were enslaved for her Heritage project at school. And I hope the same will ring true for others.
It’s important that we celebrate the Black Americans who have been fundamental to our nation’s long and proud history. As most schools teach a curriculum that focuses on the traditional achievements of white figures, the contribution of African-American achievements to society can sometimes be overlooked.
Black History is Everyone’s History
While I believe Black History is EVERYONE’S history, and should be learned about year round (in our regular history classes), I love that Black History Month gives us special opportunities to give special attention to the achievements of black people. And to remember that people of color helped make this country so great. We recognize the struggles of our ancestors and carry on their ideas and journeys.
And one way to do that is by watching movies! (You know me and my love of watching movies!) But seriously, Black History Month movies are a great way to educate your kids on diversity, inclusion, and race issues that our country has faced in the past and still dealing with today.
Diversity in film matters, and it’s fantastic that I live in a time where I’m able to show my children so many great movies centered around the stories of African-American heroes. My kids can watch these movies and feel represented.
So I’ve put together the perfect Black History Month movie checklist for all ages and I hope you enjoy some of these during this month with your family! Let me know on Instagram which ones were your favorites!
Black History Month Movies for All Ages
A Ballerina’s Tale
A brilliant documentary on African-American ballerina Misty Copeland’s life, the first black ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre. There are some brilliantly touching themes around race, identity, and body image. A great watch.
Akeelah and the Bee
A young girl from Los Angeles discovers she has a talent for spelling and tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee. Akeelah never gives up on her goal, which she attempts to achieve with the help of a whole community of supporters.
(Slightly) based on a true story. When three Jamaican sprinters fail to make it into the summer Olympics, they try their hand at bobsleigh. A brilliant movie with a very poignant message and you might find your kids trying to re-enact the practice scene in the tub next time they’re in the bath!
Another biography based on a true story. In 1966, Texas Western coach Don Haskins led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.
A great movie released with huge fanfare. A team of African-American female mathematicians play a vital role in NASA during the U.S. space program’s early years.
Queen of Katwe
Inspired by chess after watching The Queen’s Gambit? Queen of Katwe is the perfect next watch as a Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the beautiful game.
Remember the Titans
Based on a real story – starring Denzel Washington – as a new African-American coach, his high school team must manage their first season as a racially integrated unit.
Another true tale, as Ruby Bridges – just six years old – is picked to be the first African-American to integrate into her local elementary school in 1960. She is subject to racism for the first time in her life.
Ray-Ray McElrathbey is a freshman football player for Clemson University. But he must battle family adversity as he secretly raises his younger brother on campus after his home life starts to wobble.
The Color of Friendship
A brilliant eye-opener of a film, as a white South African finds a new outlook on life after she spends a semester with a black family in America.
The Gabby Douglas Story
The biopic of Gabby Douglas, who overcame immense adversity to become the first African American ever to be named Individual All-Around Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympic Games.
The Jackie Robinson Story
The original 1950s documentary of Jackie Robinson and his rise through baseball’s segregated divisions to become the first African-American to play in the Major League.
Black History Month Movies for Ages 10+
The 2013 version of the Jackie Robinson story. The late Chadwick Boseman stars as Robinson in this updated, hard-hitting biography.
One of America’s greatest musicals as Tracy Turnblad, achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. And she uses that platform to speak out on segregation, much to the disgust of one of the show’s former stars.
Richard and Mildred Loving are a beautiful couple arrested for interracial marriage in Virginia in the 1960s. Their legal battle ended with a historic decision in the Supreme Court in 1967. A brilliant story and one that means so much to my husband and me personally.
While there’s segregation on the ground, in the skies, a crew of African-American pilots is called up to fight in Italy in 1944. A tribute to our unsung heroes in World War Two.
Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter Phelan played by Emma Stone comes back from college and wants to write a novel. But she turns her town upside down when she interviews the black servants who have spent their lives working for prominent white families.
Black History Month Movies for Ages 13+
High school basketball coach Ken Carter played by Samuel L. Jackson imposes a strict regime of written contracts, respectful behavior, and academic success onto his side’s underperforming players.
A powerful and thought-provoking true-story. Renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.
A biographical thriller covering the influential Black Nationalist leader, this movie explores every aspect, from Malcolm X’s early life to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.
Based on the Selma to Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965, Dr. Martin Luther king Jr’s campaign to secure equal voting rights is chronicled in a fascinating and absorbing movie.
Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents as a butler at the White House. A great film as Cecil watches the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other significant events affect his own life, his family, and American society.
The Great Debaters
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. Tolson inspired his African-American students to form a debate team, which eventually challenged Harvard in the national championship.
The Hate U Give
Starr Carter is constantly switching between the black neighborhood she lives in and the white school she attends. But the two collide when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
Bonus Black History Month Movies
This list of movies are what I felt are best to enjoy as a family and have discussions around. Of course this list isn’t all inclusive but ones I recommend as more easily to digest with younger kids. I have a few other Black History movie ideas that I love that I left off the list but recommend you watch first and see what you think before showing it to your kids. Some of these are documentaries.
- The Last Dance
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Color Purple
- Do The Right Thing
- One Night in Miami
Ready to Start Watching Black History Month Movies?
Download and print my checklist for Black History Month Movies for All Ages here!
Not into Printing?
Not into printing things? That’s ok too! You can download it to your phone and check off the boxes as you go that way too. Looking for a smaller version to share on Instagram? Check out my Instagram Story highlights!
More Movie Checklists!
- THE ULTIMATE ANIMATED DISNEY MOVIES CHECKLIST FOR DISNEY+
- DISNEY LIVE ACTION MOVIES RANKED AND A FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST
- THE BEST WAY TO WATCH MARVEL MOVIES IN ORDER AND FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST
- THE ULTIMATE PIXAR MOVIES CHECKLIST FOR DISNEY+
- THE BEST AND THE WORST DISNEY SEQUELS COMING TO DISNEY+
- 21+ MOVIES TO WATCH ON DISNEY+ BEYOND BLACK HISTORY MONTH