* Updated for 2024
Want to celebrate Black History Month? Try watching some of these Black History month movies for all ages to educate and inspire!
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.
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. He must battle family adversity as he secretly raises his 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.
March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World
An emotional tribute to the inspiration that is Dr. Martin Luther King from his sister, Christine, as she recalls the historical march and speech that single-handedly changed a nation for the better.
A true story of the integration of an Alabama high-school football team and the rise of former Miami Dolphins running back, Tony Nathan. This inspiring movie offers watches a context for the racial strife still felt today and, more importantly, the solution for resolving that strife.
The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar
This movie chronicles the real-life story of Simone Biles, the inspiring gymnast frequently referred to as “the greatest gymnast ever.” Courage to Soar is an uplifting tale and a great way to teach young kids about the struggles of life and the importance of believing in yourself.
A beautifully portrayed period story about an illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a British admiral that plays a crucial role in the campaign to abolish slavery in England. Belle is as enjoyable as it is important!
HENRY BOX BROWN
This movie chronicles the inspiring true story of a courageous man who escaped slavery in a wooden crate, showcasing the indomitable spirit and resilience that defined his quest for liberty and equality in 19th-century America.
AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD
Pick this movie for Black History Month as it captures the heartwarming and empowering journey of a group of resilient youngsters who, amidst adversity, discover their voices and courageously navigate a path towards change, leaving an indelible mark on the world they inherit.
we are the radical monarchs
This movie follows the inspiring and transformative journey of the Radical Monarchs, a trailblazing group empowering young girls of color through activism, self-love, and social justice education, as they navigate challenges and redefine what it means to be leaders in their communities.
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.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham
As the Watson’s, a family seeking some tough love for their troublemaking son, decide to embark on a summer-road trip journey to Birmingham, Alabama, history unfolds during the civil rights movement and changes their lives (and the entire nation) forever.
Betty and Coretta
After the death of their husbands, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz form a friendship. Through remarkable strength, they carry on the civil rights movement and, in doing so, become role models for women all over the world.
The true strength of King Richard comes from the messages and morals it promotes, including believing in yourself, never giving up, remaining humble, and respecting yourself even when you fail. This movie is truly beautiful and is a must-watch for both children and teenagers (especially girls!)
The Pursuit of Happyness
Based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness traces the fleeting ups and downs of single-father and salesman Chris Gardner. The movie portrays the emotions, sacrifices, dreams, pressures, and love of a man who will stop at nothing to provide for his family. Get the tissues ready because this is a tear-jerker!
Black Panther is fresh and unique, with a gripping plot and incredible performances from the majority-black cast. Featuring the late but great Chad wick Boseman. This film will leave MCU fanatics on the edge of their seats – so grab some popcorn and strap in!
Black Panther Wakanda Forever
The sequel to the amazing Black Panther movie, and boy is it good! After King T’Challa’s death, world powers try to intervene in the kingdom of Wakanda. Queen Ramonda and the people of Wakanda fight to protect the kingdom and forge a new path for their nation.
Devotion tells the story of the first Black aviator in U.S. Navy history. He becomes best friends with another fighter pilot named Tom Hudner, and together they help turn the tide during the Korean War. This movie tells the story of their heroic sacrifices and how they became the most celebrated Navy wingmen.
Sounder is a timeless masterpiece capturing the enduring spirit of an African American family in the rural South during the Great Depression, exploring love, resilience, and the pursuit of education against the backdrop of racial injustice.
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. The two collide when Starr witnesses the shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
Based on the story of the iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, this movie follows the story of a family of enslaved people. They tricked by a plantation owner who fails to stay faithful to his promises of freedom as their daughter, Harriet, escapes and seeks justice.
The Woman King
This epic film is based on true historical events and follows a group of all female warriors with unprecedented skill as they protect one of the most powerful states of Africa known as The Kingdom of Dahomey. Set in the 1800s, The Woman King follows General Nanisca as she trains the next generation to protect the kingdom from a new threat.
In this gripping biopic, “Marshall” illuminates the early career of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, as he fearlessly battles injustice and racism in a landmark case that would shape his legacy.
“Rustin” delves into the life of Bayard Rustin, a key figure in the American civil rights movement and a master strategist behind events like the March on Washington. This compelling documentary explores Rustin’s pivotal role and the challenges he faced as an openly gay activist.
This Black History Month movie recounts the tragic and pivotal story of Emmett Till, a young African American boy whose brutal murder in 1955 became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. This powerful film examines the enduring impact of Till’s death and the pursuit of justice that followed.
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. I 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!
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