2019 Black History Month Film Recommendations


It’s Black History Month, which means there’s really no better time to see a great film that captures the diverse narratives of black people. Currently, there are so many excellent films about the black experience/black history, it's hard to choose. We've curated a selection of films in many genres, there is something for most tastes. Choose from documentaries, biographical/historical dramas, fantasy/sci-fi/horror, LGBT themes, and sports figures.

Be sure to watch Southside with You. The film chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady, Michelle Obama, on a first date across Chicago's South Side.

Consider hosting a watch party during Black History Month.


The films listed below are in no particular order and most are on streaming services.

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Book Recommendations for Black History Month 2019












Every traveler knows that a book can be your best friend, your guide, and your sanity-saver. Living abroad, even more so than a pleasant jaunt away from home, can be as challenging and scary as it is exhilarating. And books often help the globetrotter step back, recharge, learn something new in order to plan the next adventure or simply appreciate the adventure they are already on. A good book, fiction or nonfiction, can also teach a traveler or expat the history or culture of the place they now call home.

In this spirit of adventure, this quarter’s Global Black Caucus booklist is comprised of old and new gems---fiction and nonfiction that take us from Hawaii to Mississippi and beyond. We hope these books will inspire, confound, and perhaps help you plan your next escapade. We invite you to turn the page!


The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Edward E. Baptist

Paperback: 560 pages

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN-10: 9780465049660                                                                              

An Associate Professor of History at Cornell University, Baptist uses all his persuasive research and writing skills to challenge the myth that the enslaved labor of Africans and the American Negro did not fundamentally create the United States of America as we know it today.

At times charming but mostly enraging, The Half Has Never Been Told takes on the myth, manufactured during and post-antebellum, that American slavery was somehow isolated from the social and economic formation of the United States. Baptist convincingly argues that enslaving an entire people and using their forced labor was essential to the economic prosperity of the fledgling country, the hinge which allowed it to become an economic and cultural powerhouse in a breathtakingly short amount of time and not, as slave owners, businessmen, politicians, historians, and everyday people proffered, simply a by-blow at best and incidental at worse.


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MLK’s vision matters today for the 43 million Americans living in poverty

MLK's vision matters today for the 43 million Americans living in poverty

File 20180330 189830 1qxubg.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. displays the poster to be used during his Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. AP Photo/Horace Cort

Joshua F.J. Inwood, Pennsylvania State University

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, while fighting for a 10-cent wage increase for garbage workers. These efforts by King were part of a broader and more sustained initiative known as the Poor People’s Campaign.

King was working to broaden the scope of the civil rights movement to include poverty and the end of the war in Vietnam. King and his leadership team planned to bring thousands of poor people to Washington, D.C., where they would camp out on the National Mall until Congress passed legislation to eradicate poverty.

King was convinced that for the civil rights movement to achieve its goals, poverty needed to become a central focus of the movement. He believed the poor could lead a movement that would revolutionize society and end poverty. As King noted, “The only real revolutionary, people say, is a man who has nothing to lose. There are millions of poor people in this country who have little, or nothing to lose.”

With over 43 million people living in poverty in the United States today, King’s ideas still hold much power.

The Poor People’s Campaign

In the last three years of his life and ministry King had grown frustrated with the slow pace of reform and the lack of funding for anti-poverty programs. In 1966, for example, King moved to Chicago and lived in an urban slum to bring attention to the plight of the urban poor in northern cities. His experiences in the South had convinced him that elimination of poverty was important to winning the long-term battle for civil and social rights.

It was also at this time that King began to think about leading a march to Washington, D.C., to end poverty. King explained the campaign saying,:

“Then we poor people will move on Washington, determined to stay there until the legislative and executive branches of the government take serious and adequate action on jobs and income.”

King was assassinated before he could lead the campaign. And while the effort continued, the campaign could not meet King’s goals of poverty elimination, universal access to health care and education, and a guaranteed income that would keep people out of poverty.

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Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it

Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it

File 20181017 41144 11hcppa.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Nail bars are havens for modern slavery. shutterstock

Catherine Armstrong, Loughborough University

When we think of slavery, many of us think of historical or so-called “traditional forms” of slavery – and of the 12m people ripped from their West African homes and shipped across the Atlantic for a lifetime in the plantations of the Americas.

But slavery is not just something that happened in the past –- the modern day estimate for the number of men, women and children forced into labour worldwide exceeds 40m. Today’s global slave trade is so lucrative that it nets traffickers more than US$150 billion each year.

Slavery affects children as well as adults

Debt bondage often ensnares both children and adults. In Haiti, for example, many children are sent to work by their families as domestic servants under what’s known as the Restavek system – the term comes from the French language rester avec, “to stay with”. These children, numbering as many as 300,000, are often denied an education, forced to work up to 14 hours a day and are sometimes victims of sexual abuse.

Slavery is a daily reality for 10m children around the world. Shutterstock

Read more: How trafficked children are being hidden behind a focus on modern slavery

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Phone banking for Mike Espy for US Senate

The midterm elections are not over. The race for US Senator in Mississippi will go to a Run-Off election on November 27th. Democrat Mike Espy needs our help to win.

This is a runoff election that until a few days ago was rated SOLID REPUBLICAN. But incumbent Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has continued to say extreme and SHOCKINGLY RACIST things (she joked about "public lynching") and photographs have surfaced of her wearing a Confederate hat while posing with a member of a known hate group.

She has now LOST the support of many donors, including corporations — and Mike Espy is fighting for every vote he can get. Mike Espy is a former Congressman from MS, a former US Secretary of Agriculture, and he will bring Mississippi forward, not backward. If he wins he will be the first black Senator to go to Washington from Mississippi since Reconstruction.

Mississippi Democrats need to turn out and VOTE on November 27th. Democrats Abroad can help by PHONE BANKING for the MIKE ESPY CAMPAIGN this Saturday, November 24th. 

RSVP NOW for one of the two call windows reserved for Democrats Abroad volunteers:

RSVP for the Morning call block. This call list is good for those in Europe and the Americas

10am - 3pm Mississippi time (CST)
11am - 4pm DC time (EST)
4pm - 10pm Great Britain (GMT)
5pm - 11pm Germany/France (CET) - good for Europe


RSVP for the Afternoon call block.  This call list is good for those in the Americas

3pm - 8pm Mississippi time (CST)
4pm - 9pm DC time (EST)


You will receive a link for the Call List you have signed up for, with an access code prior to the phone bank going live. A computer with an internet connection is necessary to participate.

Please feel free to HOST A PHONE BANKING EVENT near you, and tell us about it. We will share it on social media.

I hope you can join us on Saturday.

Thank you,
Angela Fobbs
GBC, Chair


Charlottesville Belies Racism’s Deep Roots in the North

File 20180815 2915 thik0y.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The KKK assembled in Portland, Maine, in 1923. Library of Congress

Brian J Purnell, Bowdoin College and Jeanne Theoharis, Brooklyn College

A southern city has now become synonymous with the ongoing scourge of racism in the United States.

A year ago, white supremacists rallied to “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, protesting the removal of a Confederate statute.

In the days that followed, two of them, Christopher C. Cantwell and James A. Fields Jr., became quite prominent.

The HBO show “Vice News Tonight” profiled Cantwell in an episode and showed him spouting racist and anti-Semitic slurs and violent fantasies. Fields gained notoriety after he plowed a car into a group of unarmed counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Today this tragedy defines the nature of modern racism primarily as Southern, embodied in tiki torches, Confederate flags and violent outbursts.

As historians of race in America, we believe that such a one-sided view misses how entrenched, widespread and multi-various racism is and has been across the country.

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The Slippery Slope of Dehumanizing Language


File 20180601 142102 1a52bzo.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Roseanne Barr had her sitcom canceled on May 29, after calling former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett the child of an ape. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

Allison Skinner, Northwestern University

Comparing people to animals seems to increasingly be a part of our political discourse.

When Roseanne Barr tweeted that former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was the child of an ape, it came only a couple of weeks after Donald Trump called immigrant gang members, “animals.”

Trump has been a target himself: On the cover of its April 2 issue, New York magazine depicted the president as a pig.

As a psychologist who studies social attitudes and intergroup relations, I get a bit uneasy when I see these types of insults get normalized. At their core, they’re a way to dehumanize others – a practice that can have pernicious effects.

In a range of studies, psychologists have been able to show how dehumanizing messages can influence how we think about and treat people.

In one study, after researchers subtly primed participants to associate black people with apes, the participants became more likely to tolerate aggressive, violent policing of black criminal suspects. Another study exposed participants to metaphors comparing women to animals. The participants subsequently showed a spike in hostile sexism.

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GBC Statement on the New NFL Anthem Policy


Last Wednesday, the National Football League announced a new policy requiring that, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played before games during the upcoming season, “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” Teams whose players kneel or otherwise fail to “show respect for the flag,” as the league’s statement puts it a second time, will be fined. It is counter-productive to demand respect for the flag while undermining the principles for which it stands.

The Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus regrets the NFL’s decision to force players to stand during the national anthem. We see this as an infringement on basic rights of self-expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. More broadly, it may diminish freedom of expression by employees and limit workers’ rights. Protest is one of the highest forms of patriotism. For these reasons, we applaud the statement by the NFL players’ union.

We need to focus on why the NFL players are kneeling. The critical issues of police brutality, racial injustice, mass incarceration (2.2 million people), and more, which animate today’s civil rights movement, are eloquently summarized in Colin Kaepernick’s April 21st acceptance speech when he received Amnesty International's  2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award. It is necessary to call out and put the brakes on these accelerating anti-democratic actions before they further limit civil and workers’ rights.

As Kaepernick says, “Love is at the root of our resistance”.

Watch Colin Kaepernick's Speech Before Amnesty International to learn the compelling reasons for taking a knee during the National Anthem.


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Austria's Black Caucus is Up and Running!


My name is Faith Herbold and I am chair of the Global Black Caucus in Austria. I am a native Californian, but I vote in the state of Missouri. It is an interesting and perilous time to be a person of color. We are bombarded daily with incidences of police brutality, discrimination, and intolerance towards African Americans and people of color.

My primary goal for this chapter is to have frank and honest discussions about race, its impact from a historical perspective and how it continues to influence and inform today’s global events. I want to tackle these complex issues through monthly coffee meet-ups and book clubs, where these discussions can happen in a relaxed and supportive environment. Of course, we will not focus only on the "heavy" because there is so much positivity and beauty in diversity. We will celebrate diversity by attending cultural events, comedy shows, dinners and art shows. Overall, I hope to make a positive impact in Austria and I hope you will join me in exploring, learning and growing.

If you would like to join the DA Austria Global Black caucus, just click the join button on our homepage. Everyone is welcomed and I look forward to meeting up, discussing important issues and having fun with you!

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Germany's Black Caucus is Online and Ready


Hello everyone, my name is Lori-Kaye and I have been appointed the chair of the Black Caucus in Germany. I have been living in Germany near Frankfurt for 13 years and vote in New York. As an international opera singer, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling and getting to know many people and cultures. That's one of the reasons why I would like to get as many people involved in racial justice issues that are not only plaguing our country but, the entire world to this day.  The only way for we as Americans to be able to live peacefully is through accepting diversity in all its forms. In my opinion, racism is a lack of knowledge of other persons and its based on willful ignorance through certain news organizations, representation through our film and music industry, or passed down through family generations, to name a few.

Any person or any race or ethnicity can join the Black Caucus. If you are a person who believes in universal and unconditional human rights, and you are not a member of the Black Caucus, please join. I would love to get to know all of you and have some real conversations to come up with real solutions to this epidemic. Please take this survey. The purpose of this survey is to find out how many people would be interested in getting together for some of these fun events once a month and how many from each chapter so that I can get an idea as to how to organize it.  Just for starters, the subjects include:

  • Book Club
  • Martini Night with friendly political banter
  • Movie Night in a cozy living room with snacks
  • Labor Day American BBQ

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please specify on the survey. You can always contact me via email at Thank you for your participation and I look forward to hearing from you.

You can follow the Global Black Caucus on Facebook and Twitter



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