What Can These Current Movies Set in the ‘60s Teach Us About Black History in America?

Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros.; TIFF; Amazon Prime Video

I immigrated to this country in 2006 and haven’t stopped playing catch up on its culture and history ever since. I learned about the Tulsa race massacre by watching the HBO miniseries Watchmen. Even though Lovecraft Country was a horror series that often veered on the supernatural, it was also a good history lesson: Misha Green’s show taught me about sundown towns, the lynching of 14-year-old Emmet Till in 1955 and I listened to James Baldwin debating about how the American dream comes at the expense of African Americans.

2020 was a year of racial reckoning and demands for social justice. For many of us, it was also a year of learning about often buried or forgotten chapters of Black history in the United States. We made conscious decisions to read more Black authors, seek out tales by Black storytellers and follow more Black leaders and activists on Twitter.

If, like me, you prefer your lessons in the form of a good movie, 2021 is the perfect time to brush up on your history. These recent titles are all set in the 1960s, but shed a lot of light on the United States’ current state of affairs. Some of these films may even play a big role at the upcoming Oscars.