In honor of Black History Month, we would like to bring your attention to new films that explore many of the pressing issues faced by African American women in America today. Examining questions of race and identity, the impact of gentrification, racial profiling and police brutality, the intersection of race and illness and more, these films are essential tools for sparking conversations about race in the United States. In addition, you will find classic films films that celebrate the impact and legacies of pioneering African American leaders like Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, and Alice Walker. All films in the collection are 25% through 3/15. Use code BHM20 at checkout.

 

The Cancer Journals Revisited

A chorus of voices recite Black feminist poet Audre Lorde’s 1980 memoir of her cancer experience, and reflect upon its personal and political impact in the present moment.
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There Goes the Neighborhood

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD intimately follows an extended Black family of View Park-Windsor Hills, California as they experience changes due to gentrification and reflect on their shifting community.
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Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS

NOTHING WITHOUT US tells the inspiring story of the vital role that women have played - and continue to play - in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
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Black Girl in Suburbia

For many Black girls raised in the suburbs, the experiences of going to school, playing on the playground, and living day-to-day life can be uniquely alienating. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA looks at the suburbs of America from the perspective of women of color. Filmmaker Melissa Lowery shares her own childhood memories of navigating racial expectations both subtle and overt-including questions like, "Hey, I just saw a Black guy walking down the street; is that your cousin?" Through conversations with her own daughters, with teachers and scholars who are experts in the personal impacts of growing up a person of color in a predominately white place, this film explores the conflicts that many Black girls in homogeneous hometowns have in relating to both white and Black communities. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA is a great discussion starter for Freshman orientation week and can be used in a wide variety of educational settings including classes in sociology, race relations, African American Studies, Women's Studies, and American Studies.
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PROFILED

Profiled knits the stories of mothers of Black and Latino youth murdered by the NYPD into a powerful indictment of racial profiling and police brutality, and places them within a historical context of the roots of racism in the U.S. Some of the victims—Eric Garner, Michael Brown—are now familiar the world over. Others, like Shantel Davis and Kimani Gray, are remembered mostly by family and friends in their New York neighborhoods. Ranging from the routine harassment of minority students in an affluent Brooklyn neighborhood to the killings and protests in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri, PROFILED bears witness to the racist violence that remains an everyday reality for Black and Latino people in this country. Moving interviews with victims’ family members are juxtaposed with sharply etched analyses by evolutionary biologist, Joseph L.Graves, Jr, (The Race Myth) and civil rights lawyer, Chauniqua D. Young, (Center for Constitutional Rights, Stop and Frisk lawsuit). PROFILED gives us a window on one of the burning issues of our time.
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Wilhemina's War

In much of America, progress in HIV/AIDS treatment suggests the worst is behind us, but every year 50,000 Americans are still diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS. Astonishingly, it’s one of the leading causes of death of African American women. And nearly half of the Americans with HIV live in the South, where the AIDS epidemic has taken root in rural communities. WILHEMINA’S WAR is an intimate, personal narrative that tells the story of one family’s struggle with HIV over the course of five years. Despite facing institutional and personal obstacles every step of the way, 62-year-old Wilhemina Dixon works tirelessly to combat the stigma and care for her daughter and granddaughter, both HIV-positive. Emmy award winning journalist and Professor June Cross finds Wilhemina, a one woman army fighting against a systemic dehumanization that’s the result of centuries of racism, and lack of access to drugs and treatment. Her story touches upon many of the structural issues that contribute to the alarming rising trend of HIV-positive women in the South: lack of education, lack of access to quality healthcare, lack of transportation, and silence and stigma in the local church congregations. This urgent documentary lays bare the intersection of poverty, race and politics with women’s health and security in the rural south, while showing determination in the face of adversity, and the triumph of the human spirit. Essential viewing for African-American Studies and Public Health courses.
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Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower

LIVING THINKERS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE IVORY TOWER examines the intersection of race, class and gender for Black women professors and administrators working in U.S. colleges and universities today. Through their diverse narratives, from girlhood to the present, Black women from different disciplines share experiences that have shaped them, including segregated schooling as children, and the trials, disappointments and triumphs encountered in Academia. Though more than 100 years have passed since the doors to higher education opened for Black women, their numbers as faculty members are woefully low and for many still, the image of Black women as intellectuals is incomprehensible. And while overtly expressed racism, sexism and discrimination have declined, their presence is often still often unacknowledged. Through frank and sometimes humorous conversations, this documentary interrogates notions of education for girls and women and the stereotypes and traditions that affect the status of Black women both in and out of the Academy. A perfect companion film for any classroom discussion on the intersection of racism, sexism and/or feminism.
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Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed

This compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land.
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The Revival: Women and the Word

THE REVIVAL: WOMEN AND THE WORD chronicles the US tour of a group of Black lesbian poets and musicians, who become present-day stewards of a historical movement to build community among queer women of color. Their journey to strengthen their community is enriched by insightful interviews with leading Black feminist thinkers and historians, including Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Nikki Finney, and Alexis Deveaux. As the group tours the country, the film reveals their aspirations and triumphs, as well as the unique identity challenges they face encompassing gender, race, and sexuality. This is a rarely seen look into a special sisterhood - one where marginalized voices are both heard and respected.
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Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders

In 1965, when three women walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C., they had come a very long way. Neither lawyers nor politicians, they were ordinary women from Mississippi,and descendants of African slaves. They had come to their country’s capital seeking civil rights, the first black women to be allowed in the senate chambers in nearly 100 years. A missing chapter in our nation’s record of the Civil Rights movement, this powerful documentary reveals the movement in Mississippi in the 1950’s and 60’s from the point of view of the courageous women who lived it – and emerged as its grassroots leaders. Their living testimony offers a window into a unique moment when the founders’ promise of freedom and justice passed from rhetoric to reality for all Americans. Through moving interviews and powerful archival footage, STANDING ON MY SISTERS' SHOULDERS weaves a story of commitment, passion and perseverance and tells the story of the women fought for change in Mississippi and altered the course of American history forever.
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Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman. Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. Her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of profound social and political changes in North American history during the Civil Rights Movement. Mixing powerful archival footage with moving testimonials from friends and colleagues such as Howard Zinn, Angela Y. Davis, Gloria Steinem, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Quincy Jones, Steven Spielberg and Danny Glover, ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH offers audiences a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, intellectual, self-confessed renegade and human rights activist.
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The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde

This powerful documentary is a moving tribute to legendary black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde, One of the most celebrated icons of feminism's second wave.
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Mountains that Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama

Thirteen years, two radical activist all-stars-one conversation. Internationally renowned scholar, professor and writer Angela Davis and 89-year-old grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama spent over a decade conversing intimately about personal histories and influences that shaped them and their overlapping experiences. MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING offers the gift of these two remarkable women’s lives, sharing the pair’s recorded exchanges in 1996 and 2008. The film’s unique format honors the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Intercut with compelling period footage, Davis and Kochiyama’s cogent observations, keen analyses, and steadfast resolve to create a more equitable, humane world offer inspiring lessons in empowerment and community building for current and future generations.
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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS Celebrates the life of legendary African American actress, poet and political activist Beah Richards, best known for her Oscar nominated role in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER.
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The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen

An inspiring film by award winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Abod, PhD (THE EDGE OF EACH OTHER’S BATTLES: THE VISION OF AUDRE LORDE). THE PASSIONATE PURSUITS provides a window into the life of Angela Bowen who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era, and went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist organizer, writer and professor. For six decades Bowen has influenced and inspired untold numbers, speaking out as strongly for the Arts, and Black and Women’s Rights as she has for LGBTQI Rights. Candid, compelling, and inspiring, PASSIONATE PURSUITS depicts Bowen's life across the decades, with archival footage, timeless musical selections, photographs and interviews. Bowen’s stories reveal how the challenges of race, class, gender, age, and sexuality played into her decisions and strategies for survival. PASSIONATE PURSUITS is important to anyone who wants to know more about the experiences and complexities of black women’s lives and the emergence of Black Feminism.
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Dreamcatcher

“You got any dreams you wanna catch?” Sundance award winner DREAMCATCHER takes us into a hidden world of prostitution and sexual trafficking through the eyes of one of its survivors, Brenda Myers-Powell. A former teenage prostitute with a drug habit, Brenda defied the odds to become a powerful advocate for change in her community, and works to help women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. DREAMCATCHER lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of these young women, their families and the communities where they live in Chicago and Brenda’s unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around. With unprecedented access, multi-award winning director, Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, ROUGH AUNTIES, SALMA) paints a vivid portrait of a community struggling to come to terms with some of its most painful truths and of the extraordinary woman who uses her past to inspire others to survive. With warmth and humor, Brenda gives hope to those who have none in the four magic words she offers up to everyone she meets: “It’s not your fault.”
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