To celebrate Black History Month, we've chosen 25 movies to honor the artistry, appeal and determination of African Americans on and behind the screen. The films span nine decades, and reveal a legacy that was tragic before it was triumphant. At first, blacks were invisible; when they were allowed to be seen, it was mostly as derisive comic relief. The 1950s ushered in the age of the noble Negro, in the imposing person of Sidney Poitier — the Jackie Robinson of movies. Only when Hollywood realized that a sizable black audience would pay to see films more reflective of their lives, whether funny, poignant or violent, were they given control of the means of production. Sometimes. The fact remains that of the 25 films here, chosen to cover the widest range of black films, fewer than half were directed by blacks.
I highly recommend browsing the list. Many of the films, such as Imitation of Life, Gone with the Wind, and In the Heat of the Night, were produced in a time where race relations were very intense in the nation. More recent films, such as Do the Right Thing and Bamboozled, explore modern perspectives on race. This is a great link for film and cinema studies enthuasists.