10 Must-See Documentaries That Celebrate the African-American Experience

The stories of Black life in America are most popular this time of year as we celebrate the accomplishments of Black people in February.

The following list builds upon the 8 Black Documentary Films Everyone Should Watch, published in 2013 and features must-see documentaries for African-Americans that are useful year-round — not just in February. While not exhaustive, this list features many award-winning films and cover subjects and people Hollywood often ignore when telling our stories on the big screen.


The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005)

Directed by Keith Beauchamp, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till explored the events that led up to the murder of 14-year-old Till in 1955. Having uncovered new evidence that wasn’t available or examined when the case was first tried, Beauchamp’s documentary was the basis upon which the case was re-opened in 2004.  The documentary serves as the foundation for Till, a dramatic account of the murder, trial and aftermath. Till is produced by Beauchamp, Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Zollo.



Eyes On The Prize I (1987) & II (1990)

Narrated by the late Julian Bond, Eyes on The Prize I & II is a 14-episode documentary that first aired on PBS.  The series ran over the course of two seasons in 1987 (Part I) and 1990 (Part II). Part I focuses on America’s civil rights movement, starting with the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 and concludes with the marches to Selma in 1965.  Part II, “America at the Racial Crossroads,” picks up in 1966 and ends with 1985.  The documentary is often used as a teaching tool in middle and high schools.  Local PBS affiliates often air Part I of the series during Black History Month.

Back to top