Africans in America: America‘s Journey through Slavery
www.pbs.org, 4 x 90 minutes
The Africans in America is a four-part documentary series that examines the economic and intellectual foundations of slavery in America and the global economy that prospered from it. It reveals how the presence of African people and their struggle for freedom transformed America. Filmed on location across twelve states and three continents, Africans in America is the first documentary series to examine fully the history of slavery in America. The programs use a combination of vivid first-person narratives, compelling interviews with historians and descendents, rich music, and cutting-edge scholarship. From the nation’s early days as an English settlement to the start of the Civil War, each ninety-minute episode focuses on a different chapter in the historic struggle to define freedom.
Ancestors in the Americas
A documentary series about the history of Asians in the Americas
www.cetel.org, 3×60 minutes
Ancestors in the Americas is the first in-depth television series to present the untold history and contemporary legacy of early Asian immigrants to the Americas, from the 1700s to the 1900s. Creating first-person voices through an innovative “documemoir” approach, Ancestors brings to life a largely unexplored past, not found in standard textbooks, and invites a new understanding of American history. The companion Web site expands on content from the film series. It includes photographs, video clips, the text of historical documents, and background information.
4 interlocking stories all connected by a single gun all converge at the end and reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren’t all that different.
Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America
www.newsreel.org, 84 minutes
A hundred years ago, in communities across the U.S., white residents forced thousands of black families to flee their homes. Even a century later, these towns remain almost entirely white. Banished tells the story of three of these communities and their black descendants, who return to learn their shocking histories. This documentary investigates a little-known period of ethnic cleansing in the United States: Roughly 1860 to 1920, when several counties and cities across the United States, including Forsyth County, Georgia, Pierce City, Missouri, and Washington County, Indiana, purged their black residents through violence and intimidation.
The film depicts several characters living in Los Angeles during a 36-hour period and brings them together through car accidents, shootings, and carjackings. Most of the characters depicted in the film are racially prejudiced in some way and become involved in conflicts which force them to examine their own prejudices. Through these characters’ interactions, the film seeks to depict and examine not only racial tension, but also the distance between strangers in general.
The Color of Fear
StirFry Seminars, 2004
The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent. In a series of intelligent, emotional and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime.
A Day without a Mexican
One day California wakes up and not a single Latino is left in the state. They have all inexplicably disappeared, chaos, tragedy, and comedy quickly ensue.
www.newsreel.org, 56 minutes
Ethnic Notions, the first part of Marlon Riggs’ now classic trilogy, traces the evolution of the deeply rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-Black prejudice. Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful mammies, ridiculous coons and wide-eyed pickaninnies permeated popular culture from the antebellum period to the civil rights era, planting themselves deep in the American psyche. Narration by Esther Rolle and commentary by eminent scholars shed light on the origins and devastating consequences of this 150-year-long parade of bigotry.
Approaching a complex and delicate subject with great sensitivity, this Emmy-winning film equips viewers to look at popular culture with a critical eye for bias.
Eyes on the Prize: America‘s Civil Rights Movement
PBS, 7 DVD Set
Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the Civil Rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today.
Gatekeeper Productions, LLC, 2004
Adam Fields, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent despises undocumented immigrants and will do anything to keep them at bay. He expresses his hate by moonlighting with an extremist anti-immigrant group. Adam hatches a plan to go undercover as an undocumented immigrant and expose how easy it is to cross the border. His plan goes terribly wrong and Adam gets trapped within a well organized drug and human smuggling ring. Unable to reveal his true identity without certain death, he must continue his role as a Mexican Immigrant. Forced to live and work amongst the people he has so vehemently hated, Adam starts to see their humanity and their plight. Adam begins to grow in compassion and eventually tries to master a plan of liberty for all.
The New Americans
The New Americans is a seven-hour series about the search for the American Dream through the eyes of today’s immigrants and refugees. From Nigeria, India, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, each family has come with different hopes: to achieve athletic glory or high-tech industry riches, to escape poverty and persecution, or to marry. The New Americans explores the dreams of these newcomers before they leave their homelands and follows their first years in America.
A Question of Color
www.newsreel.org, 56 minutes
A Question of Color is the first documentary to confront a painful and long taboo subject: the disturbing feelings many African Americans harbor about themselves and their appearance. African American filmmaker Kathe Sandler digs into the often subconscious world of “color consciousness,” a caste system based on how closely skin color, hair texture and facial features conform to a European ideal. A Question of Color traces “colorism” back to the sexual subjugation of black women by slave owners and the preferential treatment their mixed-race children received. The film is especially sensitive to the burdens borne by black women, who often feel devalued by white standards of beauty. Disturbing scenes with teen-age rappers, a Harlem plastic surgeon, a television news anchor and a writer indicate the color problem is still very much with us, affecting employment, friendship and marriage.
Rabbit in the Moon
“Rabbit in the Moon” uncovers a buried history of political tensions, social and generational divisions, and resistance and collaboration in the Japanese internment camps of World War II. With fascinating archival and recently recovered home movies, Omori and her older sister Chizuko, who were children when they went to the camps, also confront their own family secrets – especially the silence surrounding the death of their mother only a year after the family’s release. They correspondingly confront the collective silence among Japanese Americans about the social antagonisms and insecurities that were born in the camps and that still haunt community life 50 years later.
Race – The Power of an Illusion
California Newsreel, 3 DVD Set with Study guide and companion website
The division of the world’s peoples into distinct groups – “red,” “black,” “white” or “yellow” peoples – has became so deeply imbedded in our psyches, so widely accepted, many would promptly dismiss as crazy any suggestion of its falsity. Yet, that’s exactly what this provocative, new three-hour series by California Newsreel claims. Race – The Power of an Illusion questions the very idea of race as biology, suggesting that a belief in race is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth.
Yet race still matters. Just because race doesn’t exist in biology doesn’t mean it isn’t very real, helping shape life chances and opportunities.
By asking, What is this thing called ‘race’?, a question so basic it is rarely asked, Race – The Power of an Illusion helps set the terms that any further discussion of race must first take into account.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
www.newsreel.org, 4 x 60 minutes
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow offers the first comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. This definitive four-part series documents a brutal and oppressive era rooted in the growing refusal of many Southern states to grant freed slaves equal rights with whites. A life of crushing limitation for Southern Blacks, defined by legal segregation known as “Jim Crow” – after a minstrel routine in which whites painted their faces black – shaped the social, political and legal history of the period. In 1954, with the Supreme
Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Jim Crow laws and way of life began to fall. The story of the struggle during this period is told through the eyes of those who experienced it – historical figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells and Walter White, as well as everyday heroes.
The Road to Brown
www.newsreel.org, 56 minutes
The Road to Brown is the story of segregation and the brilliant legal assault on it, which launched the Civil Rights movement. It is also a moving and long overdue tribute to a visionary but little known black lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, “the man who killed Jim Crow.” The Road to Brown guides viewers step by step from the world of segregation sanctioned by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, through the precedent-setting cases Houston argued during the 1930s, to the final posthumous triumph of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. It introduces us to a generation of Black attorneys who, like Thurgood Marshall, trained under Houston and carried his legacy into the vicil rights era. The Road to Brown provides a concise legal history of how African Americans struggled for full legal equality under the Constitution.
The Shadow of Hate: A History of Intolerance in America
Teaching Tolerance, 40 minute video with study guide
The Shadow of Hate spans three centuries to examine this country’s struggle to live up to its ideals of liberty, equality and justice for all. Through documentary footage and eyewitness reports, viewers are given a powerful perspective on historical events from the ordinary people who lived through them.
www.newsreel.org, 53 minutes
Skin Deep chronicles the eye-opening journey of a diverse and divided group of college students as they awkwardly but honestly confront each other’s racial prejudices. Academy Award nominated filmmaker Frances Reid follows students from the University of Massachusetts, Texas A&M, Chico State, and U.C. Berkeley to a challenging racial awareness workshop where they confront each other’s innermost feelings about race and ethnicity. Issues of self-segregation on campus, feelings of hurt and discrimination, conflicts over affirmative action, and ultimately, students’ personal responsibility for making a difference all enter the interracial dialogue. The students eventually learn to hear each other, arrive at new levels of trust and understanding, and take their first tentative steps towards building community.
With unprecedented access, filmmakers Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson enter the closed corridors of the INS to reveal the dramatic real-life stage where human rights and American ideals collide with the nearly impossible task of trying to know the truth.