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African-American Studies

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Interdisciplinary academic field primarily devoted to the study of the history, culture & politics of Black people from the United States.

African-American Studies Collection

  • Mr. SOUL!
    Mr. SOUL! | Director: Melissa Haizlip  
    Year of production: 2018| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an uncompromising celebration of Black culture. The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate, and an unsung hero whose voice we need now more than ever.

    Mr. Soul! was listed by the The American Library Association (ALA)’s Film and Media Round Table as one of its 12 Outstanding and Notable films for 2022: “a celebration of and an ode to Blackness”.

    MLK/FBI | Director: Sam Pollard  
    Year of production: 2020| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader. Yet throughout his history-altering political career, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic film, award-winning editor, and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.

  • Surge
    Surge | Director: Hannah Rosenzweig   Wendy Sachs  
    Year of production: 2020| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Surge is about the record number of first-time female candidates who ran, won and upended politics in the historic, barrier breaking 2018 midterm elections. The film follows three candidates in Texas, Indiana and Illinois who were running in uphill battles to flip their deep red districts to blue, including Lauren Underwood, the youngest Black woman to ever be elected to Congress. Surge reflects on what drove women to disrupt the idea of what elected leaders look like and shows the importance of creating a pipeline of diverse, female candidates. Viewers see the challenges and triumphs of building grassroots campaigns and through it all Surge asks, is this a moment or a movement?

  • 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
    3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets | Director: Marc Silver  
    Year of production: 2015| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    On Black Friday 2012, four African-American teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3 1⁄2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, alongside the wrenching experiences of Jordan Davis’ parents.

  • America to Me
    America to Me | Director: Steve James  
    Year of production: 2018| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) examines racial, economic and class issues in contemporary American education in this multipart unscripted documentary series. Poignant and funny, epic and intimate, America to Me spends an academic year at Chicagoland’s elite Oak Park and River Forest High School, allowing its students, families, faculty and administration to tell stories of the pressures and challenges teens face in their own words.

    Real Talk campaign users: Log in at the top of the page to view the series.

  • Shipwrecked America
    Shipwrecked America | Director: Alexandra Kandy Longuet  
    Year of production: 2016| Country of production: Belgium, France | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the most violent storm in the history of the United States, ravages New Orleans. The city’s entire population is displaced. In the land of opportunity, the disaster seems to provide an opportunity for a city’s rebirth on a fairer basis. But against all expectations and despite the Obama presidency, the Crescent City turns into a ground zero for imposing economic shock therapy, intensifying drastically the economic, social and racial inequalities that existed before. This is the portrait of a city that became the US laboratory and reveals the divisions of a whole country.

  • Sisters in the Struggle
    Sisters in the Struggle | Director: Dionne Brand   Ginny Stikeman  
    Year of production: 1991| Country of production: Canada | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Sisters in the Struggle features black women who are active in community organizing, electoral politics, and labour and feminist activism. They share their insights and personal testimonies on a legacy of racism and sexism. The analyses they present link their struggles with the ongoing battle against pervasive racism and the systemic violence faced both by women and by people of colour.

  • Olympic Pride, American Prejudice
    Olympic Pride, American Prejudice | Director: Deborah Riley Draper  
    Year of production: 2016| Country of production: USA | Language: English, German (with full English subtitles available)

    Olympic Pride, American Prejudice delves into the climate surrounding the courageous 18 African American athletes who carried the weight and hopes of an entire movement on their shoulders as they boarded a ship to Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 – a Nazi propaganda pageant that did not welcome their participation and considered them second class citizens. Their heroic turn at the Games became a seminal precursor to the Civil Rights Movement.
    Narrated by executive producer and Hollywood actor Blair Underwood.

  • Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (FT)
    Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (FT) | Director: Barak Goodman  
    Year of production: 2000| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Powerful Oscar nominated documentary about when fate places people in the wrong place at the wrong time and when fear and suspicion fuel injustice. The once-famous case of the nine Scottsboro Boys is the tale of such a dramatic miscarriage of justice that started in the early 1930s: nine poor young black men, charges of white rape, a fancy New York Jewish defense lawyer, an all-white Alabama jury, sentences of death culminating in a dogged international (Communist inspired) campaign to free the “Scottsboro Boys”.

  • Romeo Is Bleeding
    Romeo Is Bleeding | Director: Jason Zeldes  
    Year of production: 2015| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    ROMEO IS BLEEDING is a documentary film following Donté Clark, a young poet in Richmond, CA, a community that struggles with gun violence stemming from a turf war spanning across multiple generations.
    Donté transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he co-founded an arts organization called RAW Talent, where like-minded youth from both sides of Richmond mount Te’s Harmony, an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with the hope of starting a meaningful dialogue about violence in the city.

  • John Lewis: Good Trouble
    John Lewis: Good Trouble | Director: Dawn Porter  
    Year of production: 2020| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    An intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’ life, legacy and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism. After Lewis petitioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help integrate a segregated school in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, King sent “the boy from Troy” a round trip bus ticket to meet with him. From that meeting onward, Lewis became one of King’s closest allies. He organized Freedom Rides that left him bloodied or jailed, and stood at the front lines in the historic marches on Washington and Selma. He never lost the spirit of the “boy from Troy” and called on his fellow Americans to get into “good trouble” until his passing on July 17, 2020.

  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
    The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 | Director: Göran Hugo Olsson  
    Year of production: 2011| Country of production: Sweden, USA | Language: English, Swedish (with full English subtitles available)

    The Black Power Mixtape examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the black community and diaspora from 1967 to 1975. The film combines music, startling 16mm footage (lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for 30 years), and contemporary audio interviews from leading African American artists, activists, musicians and scholars.

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