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Give “Roots” a rest and explore black history through films that capture more than just certain moments.

“Roots” plays on repeat on just about every television at some point during Black History Month. Yes, Black history includes chattel slavery, and stories about the Middle Passage and such. And, yes, “Roots” depicts the era better than any other film could — it’s just not the only film about Black history that’s been made in the modern age. Sitcoms like “Blackish” have created shows with historical points as themes. There have been several films that depict people and events that are pivotal to the liberation of Black people as well as cinematic documentation of how a people demanded and received equal rights as white Americans enjoy. Here’s a list that will take you from slavery to modernity in Black history. You can find them on Amazon Video, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu, and YouTube.

Marathon-Worthy History

This is the era of streaming several episodes in one sitting, or straight-up watching a whole season. Fortunately, there’s some exciting content that you can stream for Black History Month. “Underground” is a show that ended abruptly in 2017 but is a thrilling look at the life of slaves and the Underground Railroad. Enjoy 20 hour-long episodes that are based on historical events and include a historic character that will keep you glued to the screen. Go back further in Black History with “The Book of Negroes”, a Canadian show based on a real journal of Black slaves who fought for the British during the American Revolution and were rewarded land in Nova Scotia for their loyalty. The miniseries follows a slave who was taken from her village as a young girl and follows her as she becomes the voice for the loyalists and their interests. Marathon the six episodes over a weekend or space them out throughout the month.

Movies About Famous Black People

From the women who formulated the first trip to the moon to the men who courageously flew bombers in World War II, Black people have made their invisible marks in history. Through the magic of modern cinema, those invisible deeds are exposed in movies that are dramatic, thrilling, and just as entertaining as they are educational. The most recent of this list is “Hidden Figures” about the Black women mathematicians whose work was vital to the program in the early days. “Red Tails” follows a group of Black pilots during World War II as they bravely fought for a country that was drowning under Jim Crow governance at the time. “The Butler” is a look inside the White House during the vital Civil Rights era. The point of view, however, is through the eyes of the Black man who served the Presidency and knew all its secrets. “Glory” goes a bit further back to capture the torment and the bravery of Union soldiers in the Civil War. “Southside with You” is a light-hearted look at the epic first date of the most beloved Black couple today — the Obamas.

This Black History Month, and really every month, my goal is to decenter cis(het) Black men in favor of uplifting queer Black folks, Black women, and other marginalized or unheard groups within the Black community.

During Black History Month we gird ourselves for the inevitable white-centered mentions of Martin Luther King Jr. and his supposedly pure non-violence compared to our supposedly recent civil unrest, à la the Black Lives Matter movement. We spit curated “facts” about everyone from MLK Jr. to Madam CJ Walker to The Black Panther Party and we have our paragons lined up and ready just the way we learned them in school: Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, etc. What happens when we center people like Marsha P Johnson, people like Trudy of Gradient Lair, people like me? Well, usually what happens is an immediate shutdown. Someone brought up colorism in regards to Rosa Parks success as a public civil rights figure and people were up in arms. Instead of placing Parks into historical context where colorism is definitely relevant, the response was an All-Lives-Matter esque, “We are ALL Black.” The same thing happens with Beyoncé — but that’s nothing compared to the uproar a mention of MLK Jr.’s infidelity brings. In conversations about our  Black idols we are encouraged to forget their very human transgressions or imperfections in favor of “preserving the legacy.” Perfection over reality or relatability engenders idolization, and that’s why political leaders preferred monotheism to paganism — control.

If approved, the price increase will disproportionately impact low-income families who already lack reasonable access to green spaces and likely stymie efforts to increase diversity in national parks.

We’re more than halfway through winter in the Northern Hemisphere and temperatures are starting to warm. Families across America are beginning to plan their spring break and summer vacations, but anyone hoping to take an educational trip to one of our nation’s historic parks might be in for a costly surprise. Seventeen of the nation’s most popular national parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, may double admission costs during their five-month peak season beginning this year. Entry at these parks currently costs between $25 and $30 per vehicle year-round. Under the new pricing structure, entry would cost $70 per vehicle during a five-month peak season. Per-person entry fees, $10-$15 at the current rate, would rise to $30 during peak season. In a statement, Trump appointee and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke defended the fee increases, saying it’s meant to address the park service’s over $12 billion backlog of deferred maintenances. What it fails to acknowledge is that these price increases wouldn’t even be necessary had the Trump administration not so severely slashed the agency’s 2018 budget, forcing them to pass the costs along to visitors. It was in light of these changes that more than three-quarters of the bipartisan National Park System Advisory Board resigned, expressing frustration over Zinke’s refusal to seek their counsel or convene a single meeting since his appointment in December 2016. Board members consist of social and natural science academics as well as former elected officials and serve as unpaid volunteers. In recent years, they have advised Interior on climate change amongst other issues.

Like most movies for and about women, “Wrinkle” is being dismissed as not as relevant or important as one that is being marketed to the masculine cinematic gaze.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic science fiction fantasy novel that has graced the hands of children for decades. The new movie, directed by Ava DuVernay, places a young, Black girl as the main protagonist and fills out the cast with people of color (POC). This is a huge deal, so why is it not spoken of with the same reverence as Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther”? The answer is sexism and misogynoir. “Black Panther” is an important film for diversity across various spectrums. It’s a blockbuster movie that features a majority Black cast with major names attached to it, the merchandising is aimed at Black children, it’s actually being advertised and supported by the studio. Its existence in the pop culture scene and what it means for representation in media cannot be understated. The same can be said for “Wrinkle”, but when support was called for in making its opening weekend just as spectacular as what is promised for “Black Panther”, many Black male “nerds” scoffed at the idea. Because to them, this film was not on the same level. Where are the memes? The think pieces? The promises to show up with your kids, family, neighbors, and everybody on opening weekend? “A Wrinkle In Time” is the newest film version of the story, there have been a few before but this one is unique because it has made the main character, Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a Black child. The first point of contention for many is that she is of mixed heritage, her father is white. Because she’s not “all Black” then that is given as a reason to dismiss the importance of this portrayal for Black and Brown girls. That is bullshit. The reason that this film is not getting the support from the culture that it should is because it’s a “girl movie,” a space in entertainment that is woefully under respected, especially when it centers on women of color, as this one does. This film is being marketed for female audiences and the first merchandise we’ve seen from it are actual Barbies. Like most movies for and about women, “Wrinkle” is being dismissed as not as relevant or important as one that is being marketed to the masculine cinematic gaze.

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