taking the words of Jesus seriously

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was first published on Dominique Gilliard’s personal blog

Below is list I’ve compiled of Black History film and literature recommendations for adults, high school, middle school, and elementary school students that will take more than a month to engage. I’ve also included a Black History soundtrack which lyrically roots this learning in lament, resilience, resistance, pride, and celebration, because our history (and present) is a prophetic mixture of these elements. I hope you engage this resource, learn from it, share it with others, and make a commitment to be the change you want to see in the world. Blessings!

Adults
Watch:
1. Just Mercy (discussion guide for film)
2. When They See Us (Netflix)
3. True Justice
4. Slavery By Another Name
5. Harriet
6. I Am Not Your Negro
7. The Best of Enemies
8. Hidden Figures
9. Black Power Mixtape
10. Tulia Texas (PBS)
11. What Happened to Miss Nina Simone (Netflix)
12. White Savior: Racism in the American Church | Sparkhouse (Amazon Prime)
13. Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington)
14. 13th (Netflix)
15. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

& Read:
1. Jesus and the Disinherited
2. Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores (Free video-based small group curriculum accompanying this book)
3. The Color of Compromise
4. I Bring the Voices of My People
5. The Cross and the Lynching Tree
6. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race
7. The Souls of Black Folk
8. The Warmth of Other Suns
9. Stamped from the Beginning
10. A Knock at Midnight
11. Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus
12. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
13. Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk
14. White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus
15. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases
16. Race: A Theological Account
17. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
18. The New Jim Crow
19. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
20. Becoming: Michelle Obama

High Schoolers
Watch:
1. Just Mercy
2. Hidden Figures

3. Selma
4. The Great Debaters
5. Salute documentary (Amazon Prime)
6. The Secret Life of Bees
7. Betty & Coretta
8. 42
9. Pride
10. Four Little Girls Documentary (Spike Lee)
11. Something the Lord Made
* The final 4 recommendations might be best for Jr’s & Sr’s
12. When They See Us *some foul language
13. Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) *some foul language
14. BlacKkKlansman *some foul language
15. Watchmen (HBO) *some nudity & foul language

Read:
1. All American Boys by Justin Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
2, Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
3. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
4. March (Trilogy Slipcase Set), by John Lewis
5. The Silence of Our Friends, by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos,
6. Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
7. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds0
8. X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
9. This Side of Home by Renée Watson
10. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
11. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
12. The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
13. A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
14. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
15. Pride by Ibi Zoboi
16. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
17. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Middle schoolers
Watch:
1. Akeelah and the Bee
2. Ruby Bridges
3. 42
4. Dancing in the Light the Janet Collins story
5. Selma Lord Selma
6. Remember the Titans
7. Hidden Figures
8. Watsons Go to Birmingham
9. Glory Road
10. “The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman

Read:
1. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
2. The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine
3. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
4. Through My Eyes, (1999) by Ruby Bridges
5. One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
6. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
7. We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
8. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
9. Sugar, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
10. Glory Be, (2014), by Augusta Scattergood
11. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
12. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
13. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
14. Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy
15. Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II by Cheryl Mullenbach
16. What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Elementary students
Watch:
1. Garrett’s Gift
2. Hair Love  (won Best Animated Short Film at the 2020 Academy Awards)
3. The Journey of Henry Box Brown
4. Our Friend Martin
5. Ruby Bridges
6. Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history
7. Torchlighters: The Harriet Tubman Story
8. March On!… and More Stories About African American History

Read:
1. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
2. The Breaking News, by Sarah Lynne Reul
3. She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
4. Love to Langston by Tony Medina
5. Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Jackson Issa and Arthur L. Dawson
6. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly
7. Mae Among the Stars, by Roda Ahmed (Author), Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)
8. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison
9. Something happened in our town” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard.
10. I Love My Hair!, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
11. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, by Helaine Becker
12. The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for Equal Education [graphic novel], by Gary Jeffrey
13. Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, by Carole Boston Weatherford
14. I Am Enough, by Grace Byers
15. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Russell-Brown
16. Let the Children March, by Monica Clark-Robinson
17. Child of the Civil Rights Movement, by Paula Young Shelton (Author)
18. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
19. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson
20. We March, by Shane W. Evans
21. Hammering for Freedom by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
22. The Story of Ruby Bridges: Special Anniversary Edition, by Robert Coles (Author)
23. If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement, by Gwendolyn Hooks

Black History Soundtrack
1. “Hell You Talmbout” by Janelle Monáe
2. Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
3. Letter to the Free by Common
4. Young, Gifted, and Black by Nina Simone
5. Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone
6. Black Rage by Lauryn Hill
7. All Black Everything by Lupe Fiasco
8. Crack Music by Kanye West
9. Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey In The Rock
10. How Many (ruff 1) by Miguel
11. Changes by 2pac
12. Black Gold by Esperanza Spalding
13. Say It Loud – I’m Black And I’m Proud by James Brown
14. Whitey on the Moon by Gil Scott-Heron
15. The Message by Grandmaster Flash, Furious Five
16. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron
17. Fight The Power by Public Enemy
18. Glory by John Legend, Common
19. This is America by Childish Gambino
20. The Charade by D’Angelo
21. Cry No More by Rhiannon Giddens
22. Be Free by J. Cole
23. What’s Going on by Marvin Gaye
24. Baltimore by Prince (feat. Eryn Allen Kane)
25. Afro Blue by Robert Glasper (feat. Erykah Badu)
26. Why (The King of Love Is Dead) by Nina Simone
27. Wake Up by Harold Melvin, The Blue Notes
28. Soldier by Erykah Badu
29. We Gotta Pray by Alicia Keys
30. Preach by John Legend
31. List Of Demands (Reparations) by Saul Williams

About The Author

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Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the author of the new book "Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores" and the director of racial righteousness and reconciliation for the Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ) initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). He serves on the boards of directors for the Christian Community Development Association and Evangelicals for Justice. In 2015, he was selected as one of the ECC’s “40 Under 40” leaders to watch, and Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.” An ordained minister, he has served in pastoral ministry in Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland.

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