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Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era Movies & TV

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Mississippi Burning is a fictional tale based on a real-life FBI investigation into the murders of three civil rights workers in the summer of 1964. The film’s plot focuses on the conflicting backgrounds of the two agents; actor Willem Dafoe plays young northerner Alan Ward, and Gene Hackman is the elder agent Rupert Anderson, a man who spent much of his life in the segregated South. The two struggle with one another and with their own preconceived notions about race relations in the South, but ultimately work together to uncover the truth.

Malcolm X (1992)

Spike Lee, hailed in the 1990s as the greatest black filmmaker of his generation, tapped superstar leading man Denzel Washington to star in the title role of this sprawling and ambitious biopic. Based on Alex Haley's Autobiography of Malcolm X, the visually stunning film traces the entire tumultuous arc of the radical black leader's controversial life.A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)

4 Little Girls (1997)

Spike Lee presents a moving and spectacularly detailed documentary about the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing and the four families most affected by the tragedy.

Eyes on the Prize: Mississippi: Is This America? 1963-1964 (1986)

In this film from the Eyes on the Prize documentary series, black and white civil rights workers travel to the South to help register black voters, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party attempt to replace the regular all-white Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City.

Eyes on the Prize: The Time Has Come 1964-1966 (1986)

This film from the Eyes on the Prize documentary series traces the rise of black nationalist leaders Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, and the growing popularity of "Black Power!"

Eyes on the Prize: The Keys to the Kingdom 1974-1980 (1986)

Perhaps one of the most surprising films from the Eyes on the Prize documentary series, this episode documents white resistance to a federal court school desegregation order in Boston, Massachusetts in the mid-1970s. (That's right, Boston, Massachusetts!) In addition, Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, proves that affirmative action can work, but a Supreme Court case challenges that policy.

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