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It’s been 21 days since the terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina. You’ve watched the news clips, listened to the experts. You’ve checked your social media sites regularly, liking, sharing and commenting. You’ve signed online petitions, attended marches and joined prayer circles. You explain to your child — yet again — what systemic racism is about and why someone would shoot innocent people in a church, why a government would disenfranchise 250,000 black Dominicans of Haitian descent, why a police officer would deliberately throw an African-American teenage girl to the ground at a pool party, why another unarmed black man has been shot by the police, and why news agencies avoid reporting on the series of black church burnings, even when historic precedence suggests the burnings are tied to acts of hate and racism. As the words pour out of your mouth, you recognize this as an age-old conversation had between a black parent and their child — a talk that is at least 400 years old.

OH, MAKE ME WANNA HOLLER AND THROW UP BOTH MY HANDS.

Never have the words of Marvin Gaye’s song Inner City Blues rung so true. For the millions upon millions of black people who consciously and unconsciously defy racial stereotypes on a daily basis, watching the events of the Charleston Massacre play out is like being in a wind tunnel. The forces of the winds pummel your body, as you struggle to take each step forward. Suddenly, a wind ten times stronger than the others causes you to lose your footing. You’re flying through the air, reaching for anything that will stop your backward trajectory. You finally grab hold of something, steady yourself, and look up. You have traveled so far back, and still, the wind blows. Why continue the walk? You are tired, after all.

If we are honest with ourselves, systemic racism is not likely to end in our lifetimes, our child’s lifetime or even our grandchild’s lifetime. But it’s when the media trucks have rolled out of town and the social media users are back to commenting about the Kardashians, that we must draw upon the resilience of the ancestors, gather our reserves, renew our partnerships, stand together with our allies and move forward. No, it’s not to continue the dialogue, but to advance it.

The National Black Programming Consortium has engaged in a dialogue about race and discrimination for more than 35 years. We have done so by funding documentary programs that enlighten Americans about the black experience — on public television and beyond. Below is a short list of titles that explore how many Americans have confronted race and discrimination — from the Freedom Riders of the civil rights era, to the black photographers whose pictures of everyday African-Americans served as a form of self-affirmation. To advance the dialogue, I have invited my colleagues of the National Minority Consortia to provide additional titles that will broaden the dialogue about race in America beyond the black-white dichotomy. If we are sincere in our efforts to change how we address race and discrimination in our country, it will take the efforts of all Americans, black, white, brown, red, yellow, gay, straight, trans, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and atheist.

My charge is for you to use this list and become active viewers. Parents, if you sit at home with your child to watch a program, keep a laptop or tablet close by so that you can search for answers as soon as the questions come to you. Educators, work with your parent-teacher associations to set up public screenings at your school followed by a group discussion. Many films on this list include discussion or curriculum guides to help you facilitate a dialogue. Teens and young adults, get together with your friends, decide on what to stream, watch it, and then hold a Twitter discussion. Politicians, screen a film to discover topics from which you can connect legislative policies that have helped or harmed the battle to end discrimination in your community. Share that information with your constituencies. The best solutions to a problem occur when people engage in dialogue.

For our part, NBPC will continue to add titles to this list and, whenever possible, make a program available for streaming on our website, blackpublicmedia.org. The more we understand our collective pasts, the better equipped we are to find the solutions that will bring all Americans closer to a just and more equal society.

 

Leslie Fields-Cruz

Executive Director

National Black Programming Consortium

 

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We have provided you with a link to the program wherever possible. These films and many others can be found in your local library, at museums and online, as well as on VOD, PBS.org and PBS.

 

National Black Programming Consortium

Black Folk Don’t – Angela Tucker

Citizen King – Orlando Bagwell and Noland Walker

Counter – Elliott Williams, Nicholas Bouier

Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock – Sharon La Cruise

Freedom Riders – Stanley Nelson

Malcolm X: Make it Plain – Orlando Bagwell

Masculinity Project – various filmmakers

More Than a Month – Shukree Tilghman

The New Black – Yoruba Richen

This Far by Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys – Blackside, Inc., & the Faith Project

Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People – Thomas

Allen Harris, Don Perry

Two Towns of Jasper – Marco Williams, Whitney Dow

 

Center for Asian American Media

AKA Don Bonus – Spencer Nakasako

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs – Grace Lee

Cambodian Son – Masahiro Sugano

Delano Manongs – Marissa Aroy

A Dream in Doubt – Tami Yeager

Whose Children Are These? – Theresa Thanjan

Yuri Kochiyama: A Passion for Justice – Rea Tajiri

Days of Waiting – Steven Okazaki

Pilgrimage – Tadashi Nakamura

Of Civil Rights and Wrongs: The Fred Korematsu Story – Eric Fornier

Sai-I-gu – Christine Choy

A Village Called Versailles – S. Leo Chiang

 

Latino Public Broadcasting

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez – Kieran Fitzgerald

Beyond the Border – Eren Isabel McGinnis & Ari Luis Palos

The Borinqueneers – Noemí Figueroa-Soulet & Raquel Ortiz

California and the American Dream – Paul Espinosa, Lyn Goldfarb, Jed Riffe, Emiko Omori &

Jack Kohler

A Class Apart – Carlos Sandoval

Children of Giant – Hector Galan

Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice – Abby Ginzberg

Farmingville – Carlos Sandoval, Catherine Tambini

The Guestworker – Cynthia Hill & Charles Thompson

Immigrant Nation!: The Battle for the Dream – Esau Melendez

Justice for My People: The Hector P. Garcia Story – Jeff Felts

The Longoria Affair – John J. Valadez

Lost Souls – Monika Navarro

Made in LA – Almudena Carracedo

Precious Knowledge – Ari Luis Palos, Eren Isabel McGinnis

Speaking in Tongues – Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider

The State of Arizona – Carlos Sandoval, Catherine

Valley of Tears – Hart Perry

 

Pacific Islanders in Communication

Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nations – Puhipau

Language Matters with Bob Holman – David Grubin & Bob Holman

The Insular Empire – Vanessa Warheit

Then There Were None – Elizabeth Lindsey

Under a Jarvis Moon – Noelle Kahanu

War for Guam – Frances Negron Mutaneer

 

Vision Maker Media

Indigenous with Stacey Thunder – Stacey Thunder (funding future episodes)

 

Titles funded collectively by the National Minority Consortia

America by the Numbers – Futuro Media Group

Matters of Race – Roja Productions

Race Is the Place – Ramon Tejas, Rick Tejada-Flores