Three Family Films for Black History Month
Parents and teachers face a challenge in teaching history to children: how do you accurately depict the past without causing nightmares? For Black History Month, we recommend three films that are both educational and family-friendly.
Ruby Bridges: This movie depicts the real-life story of Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old girl who was the first Black child to attend a traditionally white school in New Orleans. This script is carefully designed with young audiences in mind: the hatred and threats are visible but there is no actual violence on screen. Young viewers will learn about the rough road of desegregation and will also absorb messages about courage, persistence, dignity, self-respect, and forgiveness. TV-PG, Grade: A. Streaming on Disney+
Hidden Figures: Did you know that Black women were an integral part of the space race? Computers had not yet been invented so every aspect of the space program relied upon detailed mathematical calculations, many of which were performed by Black women. This movie tells the true stories of three “human computers”, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn and how their efforts helped to land men on the moon. This is an inspiring story of hard work, education, perseverance and grit and the power of determined women to overcome both racial and gender prejudice. PG, Grade: A. Streaming on Disney+
The Long Walk Home: In 1965, Black Americans launched a boycott of Montgomery’s bus system to protest racial discrimination - and over 40,000 riders participated. Set in this period, The Long Walk Home tells the fictional tale of Odessa Carter and her white employer, Miriam Thompson. Odessa remains committed to the boycott, despite the cost to her feet, but Miriam is forced to confront her privileged lifestyle and the just aspirations of her domestic staff. This film has a PG rating, but it runs closer to PG-13, with some upsetting scenes of racist violence. Nonetheless, we believe its strong messages of justice, self-assessment, unity, and equality make it suitable for tweens. PG, Grade: A-. Streaming on Roku, Vudu, Philo, and other platforms.
There is a much larger selection of movies suitable for families with teens and we recommend you check out our article Movies for Black History Month.