Well, February is here, and that means it's Black History Month. The tradition -- which, FYI, has been around since 1926! -- presents an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of African-Americans and important milestones throughout U.S. history. While there are sure to be events, museum exhibitions, and special performances all over the country, it's also the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn to check out several amazing, awe-inspiring, historical films.
Here, 10 must-watch classics for Black History Month ...
- Akeelah and the Bee - An inspiring story of an 11-year-old African-American girl who claims her power with the help of 50,000 coaches.
- The Help - First a wildly successful book by Kathryn Stockett, then an award-winning film, the heartbreaking, moving flick follows the story of an aspiring author during the Civil Rights movement who writes a book with the African-American maids who work in the white homes of Jacksonville, Mississippi. (When she didn't win the Academy Award for Best Actress, Viola Davis was robbed!)
- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - One of the first progressive flicks to take on the subject of interracial relationships, starring Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier (who was the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, back in 1963).
- The Color Purple - Based on Alice Walker's novel, the 1985 film stars Danny Glover, Oprah, and Whoopi Goldberg in the story of a black woman who endures incredible oppression until she finally learns to stand up for herself.
- Amistad - A look back at the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and follows the important chapter in African-American history triggered by the event.
- Precious - The brave, heartbreaking film adaptation of the 1996 novel Push by sapphire made waves in 2009 with its critically acclaimed cast including Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), Paula Patton, and Mariah Carey.
- Roots - The 1977 TV miniseries, based on Alex Haley's novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, is simply epic.
- Raisin in the Sun - The Sidney Portier classic, based on the play of the same name, was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
- Malcolm X - THE biopic about the compelling civil rights leader, starring none other than Denzel Washington and directed by none other than Spike Lee.
- 4 Little Girls - Spike Lee's documentary about the 1963 murder of four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, is a historical tearjerker, nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1997.
What else would you include on this list? What's your favorite must-watch black history movie?
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