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Racial Equity Resources

Eyes on the Prize DVD

Cover of  Eyes on the Prize DVD
PBS American Experience

This is the definitive multi-part documentary on the civil rights movement. Across multiple discs the episodes include:

Awakenings (1954-1956) : Covers two events that helped to focus the nation's attention on the rights of black Americans: the 1955 lynching in Mississippi of 14-year-old Emmett Till and the 1955-56 Montgomery, Ala. boycott. Also shows southern race relations at mid-century and witnesses the awakening of individuals to their own courage and power.

The Day Sonny Died

Cover of  The Day Sonny Died
by M. Simone Boyd and Onnie I Kirk, Jr.

When Constance Jackson's son dies a brutal death she's left to raise her grandson, Sonny, and try to keep him from a fate that has befallen generations of Jackson men before him.

4 Little Girls

Cover of 4 Little Girls
Spike Lee, director

When a bomb tore through the basement of a black Baptist church on September 15th, 1963, it took the lives of four young girls: Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins. This racially motivated crime took place at a time when the civil rights movement was burning with a new flame, and as such it fueled a nation's outrage and brought Birmingham, Alabama to the forefront of America's conciousness.

Recommended by Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development (Justified Anger)

12 Years a Slave

Cover of 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
Steven McQueen, John Ridley

12 Years a Slave is a feature film adaptation of Solomon Northup's slave narrative of the same name. Widely lauded by film critics and viewers around the globe, the film won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Northrup was born free and living in New York state when he travelled to the Washington D.C. area for a short term job. There he is kidnapped and shipped south where he is sold - twice. After 12 years in slavery, he is finally identified as a free man by someone he once knew and returns to his family.


13th film
DuVernay, Ava

An information-packed film about race, our broken justice system and the effects of mass incarceration. DuVernay's film is based heavily on Michelle Alexander's book “The New Jim Crow." Both demonstrate that our criminal justice system is an extension of slavery and Jim Crow laws and as such are a racialized system of control. Usually only available with a Netflix subscription, in April 2020 Netflix put the full film on YouTube for free as an aid to educators. Unfortunately, this film has never been available to buy on DVD or Blu-ray (which is why the library does not own it.)

The 57 Bus

Cover of The 57 Bus
by Dashka Slater

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes.

About Race

Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby

"Authors Baratunde Thurston (How To Be Black), Raquel Cepeda (Bird Of Paradise: How I Became Latina) and Tanner Colby (Some Of My Best Friends Are Black) host a lively multiracial, interracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America." 


Longtime Madisonian Lilada Gee's newest initiative, Defending Black Girlhood, focuses on the work that Black women and other adults need to do in order for Black girls to be safe in their homes, schools and communities. Madison Public Library is proud to partner with Defending Black Girlhood to recommend the following resources for parents, educators and would-be allies.

An African American and Latinx History of the United States

Cover of An African American and La
by Paul Ortiz

Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americas, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights

After the Storm

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

During the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of angry citizens of Wisconsin descended upon northern Wisconsin boat landings to protest Ojibwe Indian treaty rights- specifically spearfishing for walleye pike. In this DVD produced in 2010, both a short history of that 'perfect storm' of economic, environmental and cultural factors that were in play at the time, and explores what has changed since.

All About Love: New Visions

Cover of All About Love:  New Visio
by bell hooks

A visionary and accessible book, bell hooks's All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love. Here, hooks, one of our most acute social critics, takes the themes that put her on the map - the relationship between love and sexuality, and the interconnectedness between the public and the private - and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is more important than all other bonds.