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Black History in Documentary Films

February is over, but at Falvey, Black history is always part of our collections. One way to learn about facets of this vital component of American history is through documentary films. Read on to learn about some library-subscribed streaming video platforms, and to get some great film recommendations!

Falvey offers Villanova’s students, staff, and faculty access to thousands of documentaries via our streaming subscriptions. Most of our documentaries come to us via Academic Video Online (also known as AVON). AVON offers more than 70,000 films and documentary TV episodes from distributors including PBS, the BBC, Bullfrog Films, Ro*Co Films, California Newsreel, and many others. Most films include searchable full text transcripts. Browse the Film Platform and Black Studies subcollections to get a sampling of AVON’s contents.

Academic Video Online (ProQuest) – Images from the Black Studies film collection

We also license a changing set of documentaries and feature films on the Kanopy platform. You can think of these films as long-term rentals, selected on the basis of faculty requests. Once campus-wide access is purchased, the film remains available via the library catalog for up to three years. Click here to view the films currently available to the Villanova community via Kanopy.

Here are ten documentaries currently screening via AVON and Kanopy that relate to the history of Black Americans. Click the image to access the film.

Banished: A History of African American Expulsion (2007)

 

Black and Blue (1987)
On the history of race and policing in Philadelphia

 

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2016)

 

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

 

John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020)

 

Let the Fire Burn: Tragedy in Philadelphia (2013)

 

Olympic Pride – American Prejudice (2016)
On the other 17 Black athletes who participated in
the 1936 Berlin Olympics… beyond Jesse Owens.

 

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow (2002; 4 episodes)

 

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s (2013)

 

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014)

Enjoy exploring these great films!


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


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  1. Comment by Luisa Cywinski — March 2, 2021 @ 2:38 PM

    Thank you for highlighting this amazing resource!

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Last Modified: March 1, 2021