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Academic Video Online (AVON): Black Studies

Overview of the database with links to guides and tutorials
Black Studies Cover

Black Studies brings together seminal documentaries, powerful interviews, and previously unavailable archival footage surveying the black experience. The collection contains 500 hours of film covering African American history, politics, art and culture, family structure, gender relationships, and social and economic issues.

The collection includes documentaries on leading artists, writers, musicians, playwrights, and performers, such as Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, Huey P. Newton, Frantz Fanon, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Eldridge Cleaver, August Wilson, Bobby Seale, Ethel Waters, Amiri Baraka, and Robert F. Williams.

In partnership with California Newsreel, the database provides unique access to their African American Classics collection, and includes films covering history, politics, art and culture, family structure, social and economic pressures, and gender relations. Additionally, and exclusively from Alexander Street, Black Studies in Video features the SNCC Legacy Video Collection, a series of over fifty hours of formal addresses, panel discussions, and programs that took place at the 50th anniversary conference and reunion commemorating the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Black Studies, from Alexander Street, gives access to more than 1560 videos and 1020+ hours of video content  to support the study of Black Studies.

Access All Black Studies Content in Academic Video Online: https://search.alexanderstreet.com/black-studies

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Presented and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., this six-hour series guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans. The series encompasses five centuries of events, visits key sites, and engages in debates with historians and eyewitnesses like school integration pioneers Ruby Bridges and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Black Panther Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Big Mama

Big Mama

Winner of an Academy Award in the Documentary Short category, Big Mama depicts a devoted grandmother's struggle to raise her orphaned grandson under the watchful eye of a complex and difficult social welfare system. Big Mama follows 18 months in the lives of Viola Dees (89), an African American grandmother, and Walter (10), her grandson, as she tries to raise him alone in South Central Los Angeles.

Hughes' Dream Harlem

Hughes' Dream Harlem

This film shows how Hughes successfully fused jazz, blues and common speech to celebrate the beauty of Black life. Hughes' Dream Harlem presents a vision of the esteemed poet in present-day Harlem and makes an important case for Hughes' impact on hip-hop and the spoken-word community. This multi-layered documentary includes roundtable discussions of his contributions and a tour of Hughes' Harlem hang-outs.

 

 

Color Adjustment

Color Adjustment

Color Adjustment traces 40 years of race relations through the lens of prime time entertainment, scrutinizing television's racial myths and stereotypes. The film is a stunning examination of the interplay between America's racial consciousness and network primetime programming.

Banished

Banished vividly recovers the too-quickly forgotten history of racial cleansing in America when thousands of African Americans were driven from their homes and communities by violent, racist mobs. The film places these events in the context of present day race relations by following three concrete cases where black and white citizens warily explore if there is common ground for reconciliation over these expulsions. Banished raises this larger question: will the United States ever make meaningful reparations for the human rights abuses suffered, then and now, against its African American citizens? Can reconciliation between the races be possible without them?

 

Black Is.....Black Ain't

Black Is.....Black Ain't

The final film by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, Black Is...Black Ain't, jumps into the middle of explosive debates over Black identity. Black Is...Black Ain't is a film every African American should see, ponder and discuss. White Americans have always stereotyped African Americans. But the rigid definitions of "Blackness" that African Americans impose on each other, Riggs claims, have also been devastating. Is there an essential Black identity? Is there a litmus test defining the real Black man and true Black woman?

Two Dollars and A Dream

 Two Dollars and A Dream

This is a biography of Madame C.J. Walker, the child of slaves freed by the Civil War, who became America's first self-made millionairess. By interweaving social, economic and political history, it also offers a view of black America from 1867 to the 1930's. 

Good Hair and other Dubious Distinctions

Good Hair and other Dubious Distinctions

Focusing on issues of value, identity, privilege, and shame, this documentary features personal narratives and sociological discussion on how hair and other personal features are used as a means for stereotyping in the African-American community. The program highlights issues of pressure, conformity, and acceptance; looks at beauty as a social construction; and examines how these issues have different impacts on men and women of different ages.

What's Race Got To Do With It?

What's Race Got To Do With It?

Ten years after Skin Deep, a new documentary film chronicles the experiences of a diverse group of college students - in this case, led by veteran UC Berkeley facilitators over the course of a semester - as they confront race, diversity, and their own responsibility for making a difference.

The Color of Justice

The Color of Justice

Throughout our history, the African American's struggle for freedom has been linked to decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. This documentary recounts the long and troubled judicial journey from the Dred Scott Decision in 1857 to Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954.

Berkeley in the Sixties

Berkeley in the Sixties

This Academy Award-nominated documentary interweaves the memories of 15 former student leaders, who grapple with the meaning of their actions. Their recollections are interwoven with footage culled from thousands of historical clips and hundreds of interviews. Ronald Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mario Savio, Huey Newton, Allen Ginsburg, and the music of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead all bring that tumultuous decade back to life. Its reflective and insightful analysis of the era - from the HUAC hearings and civil rights sit-ins at the beginning of the decade through the Free Speech Movement, the anti-war protests, the growth of the counter-culture, the founding of the Black Panther Party and the stirrings of the Women's Movement - confronts every viewer with the questions the 1960s raised, which remain largely unanswered.

The collection includes documentaries on leading artists, writers, musicians, playwrights, and performers, such as Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, Huey P. Newton, Frantz Fanon, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Eldridge Cleaver, August Wilson, Bobby Seale, Ethel Waters, Amiri Baraka, and Robert F. Williams.

The database also draws from the Hatch-Billops Collection, a critically acclaimed archive of primary and secondary resource materials focused on black American art, drama, and literature. Additional content includes the SNCC archives, the NAACP archives, and archives from select Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The collection is further enhanced by content from key production partners, including:

  • Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
  • Fanlight Productions
  • Landmark Media
  • Point du Jour International
  • Rediscovery Productions
  • Kino Lorber
  • First Run Features
  • Journeyman Pictures

 

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