The theme for this year’s Black History Month, chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, is “African Americans in Times of War.” As the ASALH states, “This is a theme filled with paradoxes of valor and defeat, of civil rights opportunities and setbacks, of struggles abroad and at home, of artistic creativity and repression, and of catastrophic loss of life and the righteous hope for peace.”

Celebrate and learn about black history with five POV films. The films highlighted below are available for free from the POV Lending Library for community or classroom screenings. Sign up on the POV Community Network to borrow these, and many more, films for free.

Raising Bertie (POV 2017, 42 min): Over the course of six years, this intimate, vérité documentary uncovers the lives of three African-American boys living in rural Bertie County, North Carolina. Discover their personal struggles, as well as their community’s, as they work to define their identities and grow into adulthood while navigating complex relationships, institutional racism, violence, poverty, and educational inequity.
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Homegoings (POV 2013, 60 min.): Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African-American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City’s historic Harlem neighborhood, Homegoings takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. Combining cinéma vérité with intimate interviews and archival photographs, the film paints a portrait of the dearly departed, their grieving families and a man who sends loved ones “home.”
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The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (POV 2012, 21 min.): In this 2012 Oscar-nominated short film, Alabama barber and civil rights veteran James Armstrong experiences the fulfillment of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African-American president. This film explores the history of the struggle of civil rights through Armstrong’s experiences from carrying the American flag during the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” Selma voting rights march, to challenging school segregation in Alabama.
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Revolution ‘67 (POV 2007, 90 min): An illuminating documentary of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history — the black urban rebellions of the 1960s. Focusing on the six-day Newark, N.J., outbreak in mid-July, Revolution ’67 reveals how the disturbances began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality and ended as fateful milestones in America’s struggles over race and economic justice. Voices from across the spectrum — activists Tom Hayden and Amiri Baraka, journalist Bob Herbert, Mayor Sharpe James, and other officials, National Guardsmen and Newark citizens — recall lessons as hard-earned then as they have been easy to neglect since.
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I’m Carolyn Parker (POV 2012, 90 min): In 2005, Academy Award®-winning director Jonathan Demme set out to document the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. When he met Carolyn Parker, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a vibrant character study of the courage and resiliency of this fearless matriarch and civil-rights activist. I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful is Demme’s intimate account of Parker’s five-year crusade to rebuild her beloved neon-green house, her church, her community — and her life.
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Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.