Celebrate Black History Month with New Reads and Media

February is Black History Month, a celebration of African American achievements and triumphs throughout U.S. history. What is now Black History Month was first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week, a brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, who set the February date to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. To celebrate this month, Cooke Foundation Staff compiled a list of their favorite books, movies, television shows, and other media that center Black stories and explore the Black American experience. 


For Adults: 

For Kids: 

Movies & Television: 

Most streaming services are currently featuring bookmarks celebrating Black voices. These are some Staff favorites. 

For Adults: 

  • Insecure, an HBO comedy-drama series created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore and starring Rae 
  • 13th: Netflix posted the full feature for free on Youtube at this link 
  • Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o 
  • Blackklansman, directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver 
  • Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, and starring Shameik Moore 
  • The Last Dance, a miniseries about the career of Michael Jordan 
  • Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi and starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe 
  • Pose, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals. “I appreciate the insight it gives to Black and Brown working class LGBTQ+ people in NYC and the ball culture of the ‘80s and early ‘90s.” 
  • Sorry to Bother You, directed and written by Boots Riley and starring LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson. “A funny, fantastical but realistic message about the ways surviving capitalism influences us to do ridiculous things.” 
  • When They See Us, directed by Ava DeVernay, celebrates “the resilience and courage of Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana in the face of a cruel and unjust policing and criminal justice system.” 
  • A Raisin in the Sun, a play written by Lorraine Hansberry and a 1961 feature film 
  • Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins and starring Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, and Alex R. Hibbert 
  • Love and Basketball, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps 
  • David Makes Man, created by Tarell Alvin McCraney and starring Akili McDowell 
  • Judas and the Black Messiah, directed by Shaka King and starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. “The story of Fred Hampton is an important one that not enough people know the truth about – it gives insight to the real mission of the Black Panther Party as well as the role of the state in its downfall.” 
  • Black-ish, created by Kenya Barris and starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. “It’s hilarious and does a great job of taking a real look at Blackness, race, class, and current events affecting Black people.” 

For Kids: 

  • Karma’s World and Motown Magic on Netflix are coming-of-age animated stories starring Black children and their families. It is not common to find children shows starring Black characters. Seeing Black faces represented in children shows is inspiring for Black youth, giving them the opportunity to see someone who looks like them and relate to their stories.” 

Other Resources and Suggestions