Based on a True Story: 24 Movies About Black History That Aren’t About Slavery

THE BANKER Based on a True Story: 24 Movies About Black History That Aren't About Slavery
When someone refers to movies about Black history, most automatically think of a slave movie or something around the civil rights. Admit it, Martin Luther King, Jr popped in your head.

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Yeah, our history is that, but it’s way more than that. There are so many stories, many untold and many known that contribute to Black History in America. From people who have defied the odds in order to help out their communities to those who were the “first” Black or simply the first in their field. They all made history in some fashion. And if there is a movie about it, it shouldn’t be skipped over because Hollywood loves to glorify slavery.

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Because if you know, you know Black history started before slavery and continued after slavery. It is expansive and black excellence, in all forms, should be celebrated.

So let’s do just that. Check out the 24 movies about Black History that are about slavery that you would know.

The Banker

The Banker is based on the true story of two black entrepreneurs, Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, who hatch an ingenious business plan to fight for housing integration and equal access to the American Dream.

Stream: AppleTV



Miss Virginia

Based on a true story, it centers on as a struggling single mother who is losing her fifteen-year-old son to the rough streets of Washington, DC. Unwilling to see him drop out and deal drugs, she places him in a private school. But when she can’t afford tuition, she launches a movement to change the system that is destroying him and thousands like him. Attacked and threatened by those who don’t want change—from corrupt politicians to the local drug lord—Virginia must discover depths of strength she never knew she had.

Stream: Netflix



Remember The Titans

The film tells the true story of Black coach Herman Boone and his attempt to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971.

Stream: Disney+



Hidden Figures

An autobiographical film about Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

Stream: Hulu

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42 is a biographical sports film about Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball.

Stream: Rent, buy or catch on TV



Ruby Bridges

Based on the true story of Ruby Bridges, one of the first African-American children to attend an integrated school in the Deep South.

Stream: Disney+




Marshall tells the story of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, and focuses on one of the first cases of his career, the State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell. A Black chauffeur who was accused of sexual assault and attempted murder of wealthy socialite Elanor Strubing.

Stream: Rent, buy or catch on TV



Something the Lord Made

Biographical drama film about the black cardiac pioneer Vivien Thomas and his complex and volatile partnership with white surgeon Alfred Blalock, the “Blue Baby doctor” who pioneered modern heart surgery. Thomas is indispensable to Blalock’s progress, but Blalock is the only one who is allowed to receive the recognition.

Stream: HBO Max or Youtube




Concussion tells the incredible story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known.

Stream: Tubi

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Life of a King

Life of a King tells the true story of Eugene Brown, who after a troubled childhood and time spent in prison starts the Big Chair Chess Club for inner-city youths in Washington, D.C. He does so to offer at-risk youth an alternative to running with street gangs and avoid the life he had.

Stream: Youtube




Loving tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court (the Warren Court) decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Stream: Netflix



From The Rough

This sports drama is based on a true story about Catana Sparks and her struggle to create Tennesee State University’s first golf team. She became the first woman ever to coach a men’s golf team.Aug 8, 2019

Stream: Rent, buy or catch on TV



The Great Debaters

Based on the true story of poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson who teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college.

He forms a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions.

Stream: Sling TV (premium subscription)



Lean on Me

A fact-based about maverick ex-teacher Joe Clark who takes over as principal of the declining school. Unfortunately for Clark, before he can focus on improving the student body’s state exam scores, he has to somehow rid the school of its gang and narcotics problems.

Stream: HBO Max

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In 1970s Philadelphia, Jim Ellis, who is driven by a love of competitive swimming, fixes up an abandoned pool building with the help of a janitor named Elston. But when city officials mark the place for demolition, he fights back by founding an all-black swim team. Facing racism, violence and a hostile city official, Jim struggles to prepare his novice swimmers for the state championships.

Stream: Peacock



Talk to Me

The film is based on Outspoken ex-convict Ralph “Petey” Greene, who talks his way onto the air at a white-owned radio station in 1960s Washington, D.C. and Dewey Hughes, his friend and manager.

Stream: Rent, buy or catch on TV



Tuskegee Airmen

This Black History movie is based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African-American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, that fought in World War II.

Stream: HBO Max



The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

In 1951, cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks lead to breakthroughs that change the face of medicine forever. The film centers on the story of Henrietta Lacks, told through Rebecca Skloot’s research. She went on a journey along with her daughter Deborah Lacks to learn about the mother she never knew.

Stream: HBO Max




Based on the true story of what happened in Rosewood, Florida. It was a small, peaceful town with an almost entirely African-American population of middle-class homeowners, until New Year’s Day 1923. That’s when a lynch mob from a neighboring white community stormed the town, massacring as many as they could.

The town was left in smoking ruin while dozens of its residents were shot, burned to death, or lynched.

Stream: HBO Max



Miss Evers Boys

Based on the true story of the decades-long Tuskegee experiment and the nurse who testified before the Senate committee to what really happened during the infamous “Tuskegee Study.

Stream: Hulu, HBO Max



The Express

Ernie Davis overcomes many obstacles to get into Syracuse University’s football program. Under the guidance of Coach Ben Schwartzwalder, Davis becomes one of the school’s best players, even surpassing Jim Brown’s achievements. In 1961 Davis becomes the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy, but there is one more obstacle in his life that he must overcome.

Stream: Showtime

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Just Mercy

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence.

Stream: HBO Max



Men of Honor

Carl Brashear is an ambitious sharecropper who joins the U.S. Navy to become the world’s first black master diver.

Stream: Rent, buy or catch on TV



Dolemite is my Name

Dolemite Is My Name Is Based on the Wild True Story of Rudy Ray Moore. Against all odds, the comedian known as Dolemite made himself a movie star.

Stream: Netflix



The Greenbook

Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.

Stream: Showtime

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