Books and movies to educate yourself on systemic racism

in Entertainment by
Following its release on April 17, “13th” has obtained over one million views on YouTube. (Photo/Youtube)

As the Black Lives Matter movement becomes larger, many individuals want to have a better understanding of the systemic racism in the U.S. If you want to comprehend how racism affects numerous lives, here are some educational resources.

Movies and Television

  • “I Am Not Your Negro” (Netflix)

“I Am Not Your Negro” is a documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished writings. The documentary features passages from Baldwin’s books, essays, letters, notes and interviews that describe personal accounts of the lives and deaths of his close friends: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers. 

  • “13th” (Netflix)

Netflix’s original film “13th” navigates through the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.” The film focuses on the main fact that U.S. prisons are filled with a disproportionate amount of Black individuals. Netflix has also provided a playlist version of 13th on YouTube for those who cannot subscribe to the streaming service.

  • “Seven Seconds” (Netflix)

Loosely inspired by the Brenton Butler case, “Seven Seconds” tells the story of a 15-year-old Black cyclist who is murdered by a white police officer in a hit-and-run car accident. According to Netflix, the drama “explores the aftermath of the accident” and the “attempted cover-up by the police department and a volatile trial” as the city deals with racial tension.

  • “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” (Paramount)

Paramount network’s Emmy-nominated documentary,“Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” examines the murder of Fla. teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch member, George Zimmerman. The documentary is free to watch on Paramount Network’s website. 

  • “Freedom Riders” (Prime Video)

According to Google, “Freedom Riders” retells “the inspirational story of American Civil Rights activists’ peaceful fight against racial segregation on buses in trains” during the 1960’s. 

  • “Malcom X” (Prime Video)

Using footage from both his interviews and public speeches, the documentary tells the story of Malcom X and his philosophy. The documentary takes the audience through Malcom X’s career, controversies, incarceration and, ultimately, assassination.


Every book included in this list is linked to a Black-owned bookstore to support Black businesses.

In Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander explores how many young Black men are incarcerated and labeled as felons, while a large amount of the Black community remains trapped in the same status as their ancestors.  

“Between the World and Me,” written by TaNehisi Coates, reveals a story formed in the style of a letter to his own son. In the novel, Coates explains what it is like to live as a free black man in a country built on the idea of race.

In this novel, Douglas A. Blackmon exposes one of America’s chapters he refers to as the “Age of Neoslavery.” Blackmon includes once-lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed to freedmen after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back to bondage once again.

This novel tells the story of the relocation of Black Americans from the South in search of better lives.

Author and professor of African American studies at Emory University, Carol Anderson addresses the forces that go against Black progress within America throughout history.

American literature classic, “The Souls of Black Folk” is a collection of essays written by W.E.B. Dubois. Dubois’ essays include information he drew from his own experiences as a Black man in the American society.

Written by Zora Lee Hurston, author, anthropologist and filmmaker, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” follows the story of an independent Black woman, Janie Mae Crawford, as she explores her identity.

Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, includes a combination of ethics, history, law, science and his own personal story of awakening to antiracism in his novel geared towards helping others.

Children’s Books

Author Adrea Davis Pickney writes a collection of stories of courageous Black women, like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, who fought against injustice.

Cozbi A. Cabrera tells the story of a young girl named Mackenzie who is taunted by her classmates about her hair. With the help of her neighbors, Mackenzie learns how to love her natural hair.

Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of two young girls who become friends on two sides of a fence that segregates the African-American side from the white side.

Based on a poem by author Kwame Alexander, “The Undefeated” is a picture book that tells both the triumphs and struggles of Black people in America.

As a senior, Emily spends her second year on staff as both a copy editor and entertainment editor. Outside newspaper, Emily plays violin in the school orchestra and leads Dead Poets Society as president. When she's not at school, however, Emily enjoys writing poetry, repeatedly watching the same movies and, sometimes, succeeding in her goal of reading five books a week.

1 Comment

  1. Lovely article Emily! Thanks for all of the resources that helps the reader understand systematic racism. Your articles are always a good read! ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.