• Harriet (2019) | Rated PG-13 | A biographical drama of the life of Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist and former slave who led an estimated 70 people to freedom over 13 missions through the Underground Railroad. Starring Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr, Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monae. Directed by Kasi Lemmons. Awards include: AARP: Best Time Capsule 2020; African-American Film Critic's Association Top 10 Films 2019; Women Film Critics Award for Best Actress, Best Female Action Hero, Invisible Woman Award, Best Movie By a Woman, Josephine Banker Award, and Karen Morley Award, 2019.
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013) | Rated R | A biographical drama based on the life of free-born Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alfre Woodard. Awards include: Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Screenplay, 2014; African-American Film Critics Association: Best Film of the Year, Best Director, Best Breakout Performance, Best Screenplay, 2013; Black Reel Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Ensemble, 2014.
  • Roots (1977) | Rated TV-14 | Based on the 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, this eight-part miniseries follows the life and descendants of Kunta Kinte, a Mandika man who is kidnapped from his village and sold into slavery in 1750. The series chronicles his life in enslavement and his attempts to escape to freedom, and later follows the lives of his daughter Kizzy and his grandson George through the Civil War into the 20th century. The series was followed by two sequels, Roots: The Next Generations (1979) and Roots: The Gift (1988). A remake of the original series was released by the History Channel in 2016. Starring LeVar Burton, John Amos, and Leslie Uggams. Awards include: Golden Globes: Best Drama Series and Outstanding Limited Series, 1977.
  • Freedom Writers (2007) | Rated PG-13 | Based on a true story. In the wake of the 1992 LA Riots, English teacher Erin Gruwell accepts a position at an underperforming high school and is assigned a classroom of at-risk teenagers. Quickly identifying racial tensions and violence in the lives of her students, Gruwell decides to focus her curriculum on the Holocaust and encouraging her students to share their stories in diaries. Starring Hilary Swank, April Lee Hernandez, Mario, Giovannie Samuels and Patrick Dempsey. Featuring Pat Carroll as Miep Gies.


  • Milk (2008) | Rated R | A biographical drama based on the life and assassination of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Starring Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, and Denis O'Hare. Awards include: Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film Wide Release.
  • Philadelphia (1993) | Rated PG-13 | Following his dismissal from a major law firm based on his sexuality and AIDS status, a law associate hires a homophobic attorney to represent him in a wrongful termination suit. Philadelphia is credited as being one of the first mainstream Hollywood moves to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Awards include: Academy Award for Best Actor and GLAAD Media Award for Best Actor.

Historical Films

  • Hamilton: An American Musical (2020) | Rated PG-13 | Based on the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. A fast-paced hip hop, rap, R&B, pop and soul musical based on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, featuring a multicultural cast to show "America then, told by America now." Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr, Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan, Jonathan Groff, and Jasmine Cephas-Jones.
  • Fighting for Freedom: Lewis Hayden and the Underground Railroad | Rated G | 17-minute films by the Boston African American National Historic Site that follows the story of Lewis Hayden and his family as they seek freedom, traveling through the Underground Railroad. Available free online by clicking the link in the title.