As we celebrate Black History Month, one way to honor and learn is through a family movie night.
Movies can serve as lessons of past and present struggles, while others add diversity into our children’s lives. While some of these movies are clearly for older kids — meaning you’re showing your children the difficult parts of life—all of these films lead to conversations that can help educate.
So whether it is a film on the civil rights movement or one about an inventor who brings kids joy, all these movies are worth celebrating.
Here are movies to watch during Black History Month and beyond.
A family movie for all ages, “Soul” tells the story of Joe Gardner (Jaime Foxx), a middle school band teacher who has been waiting to play jazz with the best players out there and finally gets his chance. Unfortunately, Joe finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up at The Great Before, where new souls are sent to get a new personality. This sends Joe and his new friend Soul 22 on a journey where both end up realizing that life has a lot more to offer than they thought, and maybe he actually was at the right place all along. Rated PG, Disney+
This is a must-see movie for your space obsessed older kids. It is based on the true story about the smart, strong Black women mathematicians known as “computers” who worked at NASA in the space program’s early years. The movie shows that segregation existed for these women even while at work and how they overcame obstacles and were game-changers in the “Space Race.” Starring Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer. Rated PG.
“Selma” is a movie that focuses on three months of what has been stated as a “tumultuous” time. Sharing the story in 1965 of Montogomery marches for voting rights; this movie is a telling. Although not a history lesson on civil rights, but of a pivotal time in the fight for civil rights, it feels, unfortunately, relative to the struggles that Black Lives Matter protests today. Most importantly, it shares a time of the life of the great Martin Luther King, Jr. The movie is PG 13 and features violence.
Directed by Lee Daniels, this movie is loosely based on a long time White House employee, Eugene Allen. The film stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, and David Oyelowo, to name just a few of this stellar cast. The fictional Cecil Gaines shares the story of what life was like having a front-row seat for three decades working in the White House, mostly the Oval Office, and how his loyalty to his job caused friction at home with his wife and son. Rated PG-13.
“Glory” is a cinematic Oscar-nominated film about the American Civil War’s 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first Unions’ African American regiment. While these men served bravely during this war, they learned that the Confederacy had issued an order for all Black soldiers to be returned to slavery. While the characters are fictional, the story is based on the regiment’s heroic actions at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. R-rated.
This story first appeared on our sister publication newyorkfamily.com.