Nine Great Documentaries About Women Activists

As Women’s History Month continues, we’re shining the spotlight on women activists who faced down injustice, pioneered paths for other women and girls, or have fought heroically trying to save the world. Although the women on this list focused on different arenas, in the end they’re all inevitably linked. As feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrote … READ MORE

Accidental Courtesy

African American musician Daryl Davis has a peculiar, controversial passion: meeting and befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds and forge racial conciliation, one racist at a time.

History or Hate: America’s Controversial Monuments to White Supremacy

The thing about claiming territory and property is that it takes up space, and taking up space literally makes a huge statement; it becomes a platform for discussing who built something there, and why. So when black musician Daryl Davis shares his collection of former KKK members’ robes and his hopes of opening a “Museum … READ MORE

Birth of a Movement Full Film

The story of William Monroe Trotter, the nearly forgotten editor of a Boston black newspaper who helped launch a nationwide movement in 1915 to ban Hollywood’s first blockbuster movie, the later controversial The Birth of a Nation.

Racial Pornography

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, the concept of “racial pornography” is discussed alongside startling scenes from D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. The danger of racial pornography is that it “makes people’s fantasies [about race] literal,” fantasies that in Griffith’s film involve exaggerated scary caricatures of blackness.

D.W. Griffith: Son of the South

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, we learn about the childhood of iconic silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith, director of Birth of a Nation, who was born 10 years after the end of the Civil War. He grew up in a South that was romanticized for him through folklore despite … READ MORE

The Clansman

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens documentary Birth of a Movement, director D.W. Griffith, “at the top of his game,” is introduced to the book The Clansman by Thomas Dixon. When The Clansman became a stage play, its pro-KKK, “viciously racist” point of view resulted in protests and race riots — foreshadowing what was … READ MORE

Daryl Davis Meets Kwame Rose

In this excerpt from Independent Lens documentary Accidental Courtesy, musician Daryl Davis talks with Black Lives Matter activist and speaker Kwame Rose about Davis’s controversial hobby of collecting the robes and hoods of Ku Klux Klan members. Rose is skeptical but interested as Davis defends the fact that he’s befriended some of these men who … READ MORE

A Collection of Robes

In this excerpt from Independent Lens documentary Accidental Courtesy, musician Daryl Davis reveals his shocking hobby: collecting robes and hoods of former Klan members, including those who were Grand Dragons and Imperial Wizards (the top ranking member) in the KKK. Davis says as shameful as they may be, he keeps these garments because they’re a … READ MORE

Accidental Courtesy Trailer

Renowned musician Daryl Davis has an unusual, controversial hobby: meeting and befriending members of KKK, many of whom have never met a black person. When some decide to leave the Klan, Daryl keeps their robes and hoods, a collection built piece by piece, story by story. Accidental Courtesy captures Daryl’s search for answers to the … READ MORE

Dawn Porter Unlocks the Story of Laws Targeting Abortion Providers

Filmmaker Dawn Porter has shown a willingness to probe uncomfortable truths and untold stories in the past. LA Times critic Robert Lloyd called her acclaimed Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi “eye-opening” for its look at the ways civil rights activists were spied on by the government in the ’50s and ’60s. For her new film, TRAPPED, Porter returns to the … READ MORE

TRAPPED Trailer

TRAPPED goes inside the contentious issue of abortion rights through the story of health care providers in Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama who are struggling to comply with controversial new TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers). The current case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, will decide whether these laws are constitutional.