Hollywood doesn’t always get history right.
But in the 30 years since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed on Jan. 20, 1986, Hollywood has given us some exceptional movies about racial prejudice and civil rights.
You can always binge. Maybe Monday is the day to honor the movement toward more equality with one or more movies grounded in the quest for greater human decency.
10 Great Movies for kids and families
1. Hidden Figures (2016)
The story of African American women who served as human computers and made other vital contributions to NASA during the ’50s and ’60s that helped launched the unmanned space flight program. For ages 10 and older. Find on Amazon.com.
2. March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (2008)
The Scholastic Storybook DVD includes narrations with book images and archival photographs from four children’s books. The first two focus on Martin Luther King Jr., a third looks at Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. The final one examines how a slave mailed himself to freedom. Recommended for ages 4 and older. Check it out on Amazon.com.
3. The Help (2011)
The PG-13 movie is best suited for mature tweens as there is smoking, the “N” word once, an abusive marriage, and a miscarriage with blood, according to Common Sense Media. The movie looks at an aspiring writer who seeks to tell the story of the struggles of an African American maid’s work for a white family during the 1960s. Find it on Amazon.com.
4. A Ballerina’s Tale (2015)
This documentary examines race and body image in the elite ballet world with the rise of African American ballerina Misty Copeland. She was the first principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet Theater. For ages 9 and older. Find on Amazon.com.
5. Remember the Titans (2000)
The true story a new, African-American high school football coach in a newly integrated school in Alexandria, Va. in 1971. The Titans are struggling to get along and play as a team, divided by racial tensions, when a major player is critically injured in a car accident. Recommended for ages 10 and older. Find on Amazon.com.
6. The Journey of Henry Box Brown (2005)
This is the true, inspirational story of a slave who shipped himself to freedom. The animated movie discusses basic freedom conditions and the personal sadness that Henry Brown feels at the loss of his family members. Although the subject matter is serious, children 5 and older will be uplifted by the message that unless we are all free, none of us are free. Find on Amazon.com.
7. 42 (2013)
The inspiring biopic about the two years in which Jackie Robinson broke the sport’s color barrier in Major League Baseball. Families can expect to hear many uses of the “N” word and other racial slur words like “coon” and “monkey” and the movie has serious racial themes. So it would be best for ages 11 and older. Find on Netflix.
8. A Raisin in the Sun (2008)
Based on the landmark play by Lorraine Hansberry, an African-American family living in Chicago works for a better way of life amid poverty and racism and disagree on how to distance themselves from both. The film does include use of the “N” word and is recommended for ages 12 and older. Find on Amazon.com.
9. Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story (2015)
The prestigious Ballet Russe wants Janet Collins to dance for them in the 1930s. But they want her to paint her skin white. This true, animated short movie talks about the determination that led Collins to become the first African American ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House. For ages 5 and older and available on Netflix.
10: Loving (2016)
This is the story of Richard and Mildred Loving whose interracial marriage would end with an historic 1967 Supreme Court decision. Because of their interracial marriage, the couple are arrested, roughed up, insulted, and booted from their home. Families can expect to hear the “N” word, and hear the word “bastard” in reference to one of their children. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Find on Amazon.com.
Like All the Moms?