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Find more Top 10 Black History Video
Including two titles (Let Freedom Ring and Prom Night in Mississippi) reviewed in this issue and a picture-book adaptation (March On!), these outstanding black-history programs are culled from reviews appearing in Booklist from May 1, 2007, through February 1, 2010.
Flying for Freedom: Untold Stories of the Tuskegee Airmen. 2007. 51min. AMS, DVD, $25.
Surviving Tuskegee Airmen and family members recall the experiences and challenges facing the group of World War II African American pilots and mechanics who were part of the Tuskegee Experiment. Archival photos, footage, and reenactments enhance the coverage.
The Game of Change. 2008. 60min. Cinema Guild, DVD, $99.95 (0-7815-1272-7).
This inspiring program introduces two college basketball teams (Loyola of Chicago and Mississippi State University) on a collision course with history. Despite an unwritten state law that prohibited Mississippi State from competing against African American players (four Loyola starters were black), the teams met in a groundbreaking 1963 NCAA national tournament game.
Let Freedom Ring: Moments from the Civil Rights Movement, 1954–1965. 2009. 100min. Films Media, VHS, $169.95 (9781608259939); DVD, $169.95 (9781608259946).
Lester Holt hosts this compilation of NBC news footage that documents pivotal events in the civil rights era, from 1954 to 1965. Contemporary and archival interviews with activists as well as historic footage make this an excellent resource. See the full review on p.00.
Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later. 2007. 70min. HBO, DVD, $24.98 (0-7831-5718-5).
Nine African American students made history when they enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. This engaging documentary revisits the Arkansas school and community nearly 50 years later, showing “how much and how little has changed.”
A Man Named Pearl. 2008. 78min. Docurama, DVD, $26.95 (1-4229-2270-7).
A feel-good film that highlights the amazing work of self-taught gardener and artist Pearl Fryer, who turned his three-acre South Carolina homesite into a wide expanse of “elegantly abstract” topiary and artwork.
March On! 2008. 18min. Weston Woods, DVD, $59.95 (9780545106450). Gr. 2–5.
Lynn Whitfield passionately reads this touching iconographic adaptation of Christine King Farris’ picture book (told from her perspective as the older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), which celebrates the civil rights leader’s role at the 1963 March on Washington.
Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius. 2007. 116min. WGBH, DVD, $19.95 (1-59375-682-8).
First-person narration, archival stills, stunning dramatic reenactments, computer-generated graphics, and commentary from family members and colleagues accent this enlightening profile of brilliant, volatile chemist Percy Julian (1899–1975).
Prom Night in Mississippi. 2010. 90min. Docurama, DVD, $26.95 (1-4229-4904-4).
Opening an eye to racial tensions in a small Mississippi high school and town, this uplifting film tracks events culminating in a first-ever integrated senior prom at Charleston High School, funded by Academy Award–winning actor Morgan Freeman. See the full review on p.00.
Viva Nelson Mandela: A Hero for All Seasons. 2009. 95min. Choices, DVD, $24.95 (9781933724287).
This well-organized program celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in a South African prison before his triumphant release and continuing commitment to equality in South Africa.
Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun. 2008. 84min. California Newsreel, DVD, $49.95.
Film clips, dramatic readings, and commentary from scholars, biographers, and authors intermix with a dramatized radio interview with Hurston in this well-researched documentary that also touches upon her controversial political views and final years in “relative obscurity and poverty.”
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