“Hoop Dreams” is a classic 1994 documentary directed by Steve James about two boys growing up in Chicago and their dream of playing professional basketball in the NBA. In pursuit of that, they attempt to move through the basketball development and recruitment pipeline. While much of the film focuses on the triumphs and letdowns of their high school basketball years we also see the ups and downs of their lives off the court.
“King in the Wilderness” is a 2018 documentary that covers the last years of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film begins in 1965 around the time of that year’s Voting Rights Act and ends with King’s assassination in 1968. Spanning just 18 months of an incredible life, we get great insight into the expansion of King’s campaigns which placed greater focus on economic issues. There’s also an in-depth discussion of the pressures and criticisms that he faced during this less celebrated period that was no less important than his earlier work.
A review of “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children”, a 2020 five-part HBO miniseries about the Atlanta Child Murders. Following the 1973 election of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor, the city launched an effort to rebrand itself. Adopting the tagline “The City Too Busy to Hate” Atlanta tried to reposition itself as being focused on commerce and progress rather than upholding racist traditions. But for two years, spanning 1979 to 1981, approximately 30 Black children and young adults went missing and were found murdered. The string of murders brought attention to the city but for all the wrong reasons and shed light on how little things had changed for many Black residents.
“4 Little Girls” is a 1997 Spike Lee documentary about the 1963 bombing of Birmingham, Alabama’s 16th Street Baptist Church which resulted in the deaths of four little girls. The device had been planted by four men who were members of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. But while this particular event was unfortunate, the documentary shows that it was one in a series of domestic terrorist attacks aimed at intimidating Birmingham’s Black community into remaining second-class citizens.
“A Century of Black Cinema” is a dope documentary. It’s worth checking out if you’re into documentaries in general but especially if you consider yourself a film buff or movie fan. In a bit under 2 hours, you can learn a lot about the history of the Black film industry. Most of the content focuses on the actors and actresses who appeared in front of the camera but there’s also some info about a few Black directors.