POV has featured a number of films that are ideal for teaching black history year-round. This collection offers educators a range of our most popular accompanying content, from lesson plans and discussion guides to reading lists.
*Note: Lesson plans are accompanied by streaming video clips
Exploring the Heroes of Social Justice Movements
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
In this lesson, students identify and research participants in social justice movements or other types of movements or communities.
The History and Legacy of U.S. Slavery
Traces of the Trade
Students explore the history and legacy of U.S. slavery and whether or not reparations should be made to the descendents of slaves.
» Lesson Plan: Traces of the Trade
The Root Causes of Urban Rebellion
Students use viewing skills, note-taking strategies and class discussion to determine the causes of Newark’s 1967 urban rebellion. After identifying lessons learned students write about how those lessons could be applied toward positive changes in their local community.
Discussion Guides & Reading Lists
Roadblocks to Voting (The Barber of Birmingham)
The discussion guide offers background on U.S. civil rights and voting rights movements, including a comprehensive section on the roadblocks to voting for blacks during the Jim Crow era. The reading list provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised in The Barber of Birmingham that are ideal for starting a conversation about the film and its relevance to both historical and current voting rights issues and inequalities.
The History and Legacy of U.S. Slavery (Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North)
As a classroom tool, Traces of the Trade offers powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide. The accompanying discussion guide and reading list provide excellent starting points for discussion of the legacy of slavery and its influence on the lives of Americans of all colors and generations.
Political Representation of Minorities (Chisholm ’72)
Shirley Chisholm, an outspoken advocate for the rights of women and minorities and an unfaltering critic of the Vietnam War, was shunned by the political establishment. Chisholm ’72 reveals how this passionate and articulate woman gained the support of an unusual crew of political supporters, including blacks, feminists, and young voters. The film and its accompanying materials are a springboard for discussions on civic engagement. The campaign-trail adventures of Chisholm and her supporters provide a revealing portrait of how politics can both inspire and exclude.
U.S. Civil Rights and the Question of Race (Brother Outsider)
During his 60-year career as an activist, organizer and “troublemaker,” Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement. But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him again and again as a “brother outsider.” The discussion guide and reading list illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change.
Social Activism (A Panther in Africa)
On October 30, 1969, Pete O’Neal, a young Black Panther in Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested for transporting a gun across state lines. One year later, O’Neal fled the charge, and for over 30 years, he has lived in Tanzania as one of the last American exiles from an era when activists considered themselves at war with the U.S. government. The accompanying materials provide students with an opportunity to think deeply about race issues in America today, social activism and community building.
Loving v. Virginia (Hardwood)
The film’s background of race and racism makes the Academy Award-nominated Hardwood a compelling tool for classroom use.
The film is a deeply personal filmic journey by director Hubert Davis, the son of former Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis. Mel, now a coach for young basketball players in Vancouver, recalls falling in love at first sight with Hubert’s mother, a white woman, at a time when racism seemed to make their union impossible. Despite their emotional bonds still resonating over 20 years later — Mel chose to marry a black woman, with whom he also had a son. The filmmaker unites both sides of his family, speaking movingly about the complex web of love, betrayal and family ties that bind them all in this Academy Award-nominated film. Through personal interviews, archival footage and home movies Davis delves into his father’s past in the hope of finding his own.