Post by Danette Pachtner, Duke Libraries’ Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies
Black History Month is dedicated to the histories and stories of Black Americans and the African diaspora who have systemically been sidelined for centuries. Duke Libraries’ film collection has a treasure trove of titles to view and explore.
The Docuseek African-American Studies Collection is an interdisciplinary streaming video collection of over 80 award-winning films, featuring popular and classic films plus dynamic new releases, focused on social, political and cultural history and contemporary issues that are ideal resources for Black History Month.
Duke Libraries provides access to these streaming videos in The Docuseek Complete Collection, with Duke NetId/password authentication.
John Lewis: Get in the Way tells the gripping tale of Lewis’s role in the vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement through never-before-seen interviews shot over 20 years.
Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution details the history of how Medicare was leveraged to desegregate hospitals. Before Medicare, fewer than half the nation’s hospitals served black and white patients equally, and in the South, 1/3 of hospitals would not admit African-Americans even for emergencies.
Power to Heal illustrates how Movement leaders and grass-roots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve a greater measure of justice and fairness for African-Americans.
Horror Noire traces the extensive history of Black horror films. Delving into a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced them, Horror Noire traces a secret history of Black Americans in Hollywood through their connection to the horror genre.
Al Helm follows an African American Christian choir’s journey to the Palestinian National Theater to put on a play about Martin Luther King, Jr. A rousing portrait of the changes unfolding in the Middle East as a nonviolent movement grows in Palestine, this dynamic and complex work is born of a brilliantly simple and potent idea: what would happen if African American Christians—the same group who served as exemplars of the Civil Rights Movement—could witness firsthand the plight of Palestinians today?
The classic documentary film, The Loving Story, from Nancy Buirski’s trilogy profiling brave individuals who fought for justice in and around the Civil Rights era, is a heart-rending story of the Lovings and the ground-breaking court case that legalized marriage between interracial couples. A Crime on the Bayou, is the final film in Buirski’s trilogy, which outlines the extraordinary story of Gary Duncan, arrested for touching a white boy’s arm, whose civil rights case in Louisiana went all the way to the Supreme Court in the late 1960s.
River City Drumbeat chronicles Edward “Nardie” White’s instruction of ancestral Pan-African culture and drumming in Louisville, Kentucky. For three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has been leading the River City Drum Corps in order to instill a foundation of purposeful resilience within his neighborhood youth. Against the backdrop of the American South, Mr. White’s drumline and its multi-generational network of support has been a lifeline for many young African Americans. In his final year as director he trains his successor Albert Shumake, a young artist whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline and Mr. White’s mentorship when he was a teen. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on the tragedies and triumphs in their lives and the legacy of the drum corps.
Father’s Kingdom depicts the untold story of the remarkable civil rights pioneer Father Divine. Once a celebrity who was decades ahead of his time fighting for civil rights, he has largely been written out of history because of the audacity of his religious claims, Father’s revolutionary ideas on race and identity still resonate today.
Black Girl in Suburbia takes a look at the suburbs of America from the perspective of women of color. Through conversations with her own daughters, with teachers and scholars who are experts in the personal impacts of growing up a person of color in a predominately white place, this film explores the conflicts that many Black girls in homogeneous hometowns have in relating to both white and Black communities.
New Docuseek releases include Stateless, a film that reveals the dark and deadly history of institutionalized oppression of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, and Oliver Tambo, about the man responsible for the release of Nelson Mandela and who helped to end the apartheid in South Africa.
If you would like to explore more streaming video brought to you by Duke Libraries, browse titles in Kanopy, Swank Digital Campus, Films on Demand World Cinema and Feature Films for Education as well as the Academic Video Online collections.