Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19th, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It’s a day to celebrate freedom, reflect on the struggles of the past, and honor the ongoing fight for racial equality. While historical documents and celebrations are a vital part of Juneteenth, movies offer a powerful way to engage with these themes on a deeper level. Here are three thought-provoking movies perfect for commemorating Juneteenth:

1. 13th (2016) (available on Apple TV+)

13th Movie on Juneteenth

Directed by Ava DuVernay, 13th is a powerful documentary that explores the legacy of slavery in the United States. The film’s title refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. However, 13th delves into how loopholes and discriminatory practices have perpetuated racial inequality through the prison system and beyond. It’s a challenging but essential watch that sheds light on the systemic racism that continues to impact Black Americans today.

2. The History of White People in America (Available on YouTube)

This provocative documentary series, narrated by comedian and social commentator Neal Brennan, takes a critical look at whiteness in America. Through historical analysis and interviews with scholars and activists, the series explores how white identity and privilege have been constructed throughout history. It challenges viewers to confront the uncomfortable truths about race relations and how whiteness has benefited from and perpetuated systems of oppression.

3. Eyes on the Prize (Available on PBS Passport)

For a more in-depth exploration of the Civil Rights Movement, look no further than the landmark documentary series Eyes on the Prize. This 14-hour series chronicles the movement from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Through archival footage, interviews, and personal narratives, the series paints a vivid picture of the courage, sacrifice, and resilience of those who fought for equality.

4. Two Dollars and a Dream (Available on YouTube)

This biographical documentary tells the inspiring story of Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first female self-made millionaire. Born Sarah Breedlove after slavery’s abolition, Walker faced poverty and struggles as a single mother. However, armed with her entrepreneurial spirit and a homemade hair care formula, she built a beauty product empire that empowered Black women and redefined beauty standards. “Two Dollars and a Dream” is a testament to resilience, innovation, and the power of economic empowerment within the Black community. This uplifting film perfectly complements the themes of Juneteenth by showcasing Black achievement and self-determination.

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