2021 Black History Month Recommendations for the Whole Family

These lists are nowhere near exhaustive. A multitude of other great resources like Reading While Black, Who Will Be a Witness, Becoming, The Souls of Black Folk, The Miseducation of the Negro, and The Parable of the Sower could very well be on a list of this nature. However, for brevity, these are my top 10 lists of reading & viewing material for people of all ages. Please engage with them during this Black History Month and beyond!

For adults

Watch:

  1. When They See Us (Netflix)
  2. True Justice (HBO—or EJI)
  3. I Am Not Your Negro (Prime)
  4. Banished (documentary)
  5. One Night in Miami (Prime)
  6. Between the World and Me (HBO)
  7. All In: The Fight for Democracy (Prime)
  8. Just Mercy (HBO Max)
  9. Slavery By Another Name (PBS—or YouTube)
  10. The Best of Enemies (Hulu)

 

Read:

  1. Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
  2. The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
  3. The Christian Imagination by Willie James Jennings
  4. After Whiteness by Willie James Jennings
  5. Rethinking Incarceration by Dominique Gilliard
  6. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  7. The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
  8. In My Grandmother’s House by Yolanda Pierce
  9. A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett
  10. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

 

For high school students:

Watch:

  1. Hidden Figures
  2. The Great Debaters
  3. Just Mercy
  4. 42
  5. Salute documentary (Amazon Prime)
  6. Selma
  7. Betty & Coretta
  8. Four Little Girls documentary (Spike Lee)
  9. Freedom Riders
  10. Something the Lord Made
  11. Between the World and Me*
  12. When They See Us*
  13. Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington)*
  14. BlacKkKlansman*
  15. 13th*

* The final 5 recommendations are best for older kids

 

Read:

  1. March (Trilogy), by John Lewis
  2. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
  3. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  4. Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
  5. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
  6. She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
  7. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
  8. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  9. Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
  10. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

 

For middle school students:

Watch:

  1. Hidden Figures
  2. Akeelah and the Bee
  3. Ruby Bridges
  4. 42
  5. Dancing in the Light the Janet Collins story
  6. Selma, Lord, Selma
  7. Remember the Titans
  8. Watsons Go to Birmingham
  9. Glory Road
  10. The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman

 

Read:

  1. Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A. by Arlisha Norwood
  2. The Story of Barack Obama by Tonya Leslie
  3. Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
  4. Skin Like Mine by Latashia M. Perry
  5. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  6. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  7. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  8. The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
  9. What Do You Do With A Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton
  10. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

 

For elementary school students:

Watch:

  1. Garrett’s Gift
  2. Hair Love  (won Best Animated Short Film at the 2020 Academy Awards)
  3. The Journey of Henry Box Brown
  4. March On!… and More Stories About African American History
  5. Ruby Bridges
  6. And the Children Shall Lead
  7. Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history
  8. Torchlighters: The Harriet Tubman Story
  9. March On!… and More Stories About African American History
  10. Our Friend Martin

 

Read:

  1. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
  2. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  3. Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
  4. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
  5. Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes
  6. So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt
  7. The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  8. All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
  9. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker
  10. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
  11. Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson

 

A Black History musical playlist full of songs of celebration, lament, sociological analysis, theological reflections, and calls to pursue racial justice. This playlist is designed to introduce you to old and new perspectives on the struggle for Black dignity in a world that all too often feels like Black Lives do not matter.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is the author of Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores, which won a 2018 Book of the Year Award for InterVarsity Press and was named Outreach Magazine’s 2019 Social Issues Resource of the Year. Gilliard also serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary and serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association. In 2015, the Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.” Gilliard’s forthcoming book, Subversive Witness: Scripture’s Call to Leverage Privilege, will be released on August 24, 2021.

 

 

 

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