The following is a list of some movies which are both classroom appropriate and relevant to the topics of race and racism.
This short film depicts Africville, a small black settlement that lay within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1960s, the families there were uprooted and their homes demolished in the name of urban renewal and integration. More than 20 years later, the site of the community of Africville is a stark, under-utilized park. Former residents, their descendants and some of the decision-makers speak out and, with the help of archival photographs and films, tell the story of that painful relocation.
This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne's father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father's involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia's Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne's father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than reveal an important period in Canadian history. It pays moving tribute to a father's quiet heroism.
Speakers for the Dead
- deals with mature subject matter; viewer discretion advised
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments--including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate--add to the film's emotional intensity.
In the Shadow of Gold Mountain
Filmmaker Karen Cho travels from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, a set of laws imposed to single out the Chinese as unwanted immigrants to Canada from 1885 to 1947. Through a combination of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations.
Pride and Prejudice: The Road to Human Rights and Multiculturalism in British Columbia. Published by the Vancouver Knowledge Network, distributed by the British Columbia Teacher Federation, 1999.
The following is a Wikipedia page with a list of movies that feature racial and ethnic issues.
List of race/ethnic films, on Wikipedia.org
This adapted musical is a great way for students to delve into the discussion of racism and integration movement in the 1960s. As the movie is made recently and students are familiar with the actors, students are likely to be more interested in watching the movie and relate to the topics that the movie touches upon. The language used in the movie is appropriate for the age and for use in the classroom.
A Time to Kill (1996)
Adapted from the novel by John Grisham, the movie is set in a fictional small town in Mississippi in the 1970s. The movie deals with graphic contents such as violent assault and rape, but the closing statement that the defense lawyer (Jack Tyler Brigance, played by Matthew McConaughey) paints a powerful picture of racism instilled in our society.
Schindler’s List (1993)
This movie is about a German businessman who saved the lives of Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. It will be appropriate to show during the World War II unit in Social Studies 11. The film can be seen in its entirety or in short clips.
This movie focuses on the racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California. The movie features several characters with separate lives, but their stories are interwoven as the plot thickens. The movie offers multiple perspectives on the issue of racism and how each cultural group sees it.