VIDEOS AND DOCUMENTARIES
This list of video documentaries on the Southern civil rights movement and related topics is by no means comprehensive.
Please click on the title and it will take you either to the video, the streaming service or site where can rent or purchase the video.
This list will be updated from time to time.
1964: The Fight for a Right (2018) – produced by Mississippi Public Broadcasting, this documentary explores the fight for voting rights in Mississippi during the 1964 Freedom Summer campaign.
1964 NBC News Special Report: Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner (1964) – an NBC news special on the disappearance of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner after they investigated a church burning in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Includes rare archival footage.
4 Little Girls (1997) – explores in greater detail the September 15th, 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four girls between ages twelve and fourteen. Produced and directed by Spike Lee
CBS Reports: Segregation: Northern Style (1964) – a CBS investigative report into discriminatory real estate practices in a New Jersey town. Includes rare archival footage and interviews with participants.
Civil Rights Movement: The North (1963) – an NBC investigative report into discriminatory practices in employment, housing and education in Northern cities. Co-hosted by Bob Teague, one of television’s first African American correspondents.
Eyes on the Prize (1987) – Pulitzer Prize winning documentary on the civil rights movement. Part I focuses on the years 1954-1965. Part II covers the years 1965 through the early 1980s. Produced by Henry Hampton.
February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four (2003) – documentary on the February 1st, 1960 sit ins in Greensboro, N.C. that ignited the student movement throughout the South.
Freedom Summer: Mississippi 1964 (2014) – Produced by award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson for the PBS “American Experience” series, this superb documentary offers the most comprehensive treatment of 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project put together by major civil rights organizations. Includes rare footage and interviews with many participants.
Freedom Riders (2011) – Produced by award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson for the “American Experience” series, this outstanding documentary looks back on the Freedom Rides that broke the back of Jim Crow in travel facilities throughout the South. Includes interviews with participants and rare footage.
From the Archives: The Search in Mississippi (1964) – CBS documentary hosted by Walter Cronkite that follows the search for missing civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner. Rare footage and interviews.
King in the Wilderness (2018) – An HBO film, this documentary examines the last two years of the public life of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose standing and popularity fell through the floor over the last two years of his life after he began to criticize the Vietnam War and economic inequality. Offers a much more complete and insightful treatment of King than most conventional narratives. Rare footage and interviews.
Klansville, U.S.A. (2015) – based on a 2012 book by the same name, this PBS “American Experience” documentary examines the tension between the progressive tradition in North Carolina and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to power after the civil rights movement took hold in the South.
Mississippi, U.S.A., (1961) – a news report that offers rare footage and interviews of the effort and resistance to secure civil rights for African Americans in Mississippi. Produced by WKY and WFOR in Oklahoma.
Mississippi’s War: Slavery and Secession (2014) – produced by Mississippi Pubic Broadcasting, this documentary offers a scholarly, yet accessible treatment of Mississippi’s devotion to slavery and succession, particularly after cotton became its primary cash crop.
See It Now: Clinton and the Law: A Story of Desegregation (1957) – produced and narrated by Edward R. Murrow, this outstanding CBS documentary examines the tension and resolution of the first town in Tennessee to integrate black students into all-white schools. Rare footage and superb interviews with local townspeople.
Spies of Mississippi (2015) – PBS documentary that examines the work of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a state funded spy agency, to recruit black residents into spying on civil rights workers, using deceptive tactics, bribery and threats.
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities (2018) – Produced by award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson for the PBS “American Experience” series, this superb documentary examines the history and importance of black colleges and universities in the African American struggle for education and civil rights. Excellent.
The March (1963) – Produced by James Blue, this documentary offers a ground-level view from individuals who helped organize or simply participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Restored by the National Archives in 2008. Excellent video and audio quality.
The Murder of Louis Allen (2011) – a short investigative report by the CBS “60 Minutes” news team into the murder of Louis Allen, a black Mississippian who witnessed the murder of a civil rights activist Herbert Lee in 1961, initially refused to testify, then recanted.
The Story of the Clinton 12: Stepping Back in Time (2019) – a short film about the first African American students to integrate an all-white public school in Tennessee. Footage and interviews are contemporary.
The Uncomfortable Truth (2017) – Filmmaker Loki Mulholland, the son of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a white Southerner who participated in the Freedom Rides, sit ins and other civil rights work in Mississippi, discovers that his ancestors held slaves and sanctioned lynchings. Winner of several awards.
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005) – Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp revisits the Emmett Till abduction and lynching. Includes interviews with Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and Simeon Wright, an African American reporter who covered the trial for Jet magazine.
Vanguard of the Revolution: The Real Story of the Black Panther Party (2017) – produced by award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson for the “American Experience” series, this outstanding film chronicles the rise of the Black Panthers in the 1960s. Outstanding footage and interviews.