This is “Recommended Viewing”, section 5.5 from the book 21st Century American Government and Politics (v. 1.0).
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The Birth of a Nation (1915). Director D. W. Griffith’s groundbreaking epic of the Civil War and its aftermath rewrites history in its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan.
Brokeback Mountain (2005). A pathbreaking Hollywood movie about the doomed romance of two male Wyoming ranch hands.
Do the Right Thing (1989). Director Spike Lee’s troubling take on racial and ethnic tensions in the city.
El Norte (1983). Director Gregory Nava’s pioneering drama of Guatemalans fleeing political repression to enter the United States as illegal immigrants.
Eyes on the Prize (1987). A compelling multipart documentary of the African American civil rights movement.
Freedom Riders (2010). Documentary about the black and white men and women who flouted Jim Crow laws and faced enraged mobs by sitting together on interstate buses and trains traveling across the South.
Iron Jawed Angels (2004). Recounts the struggle of the suffragists who fought for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
The Laramie Project (2002). Director Moises Kaufman’s video adaptation of his play based on interviews with Wyomingites in the wake of the antigay murder of Matthew Shepard.
Mississippi Burning (1988). Loosely based on the FBI investigation, obstructed by bigotry and a conspiracy of violence, into the murder of three civil rights workers.
North Country (2005). The true story of the battle of a woman against sexual harassment in a Minnesota mining company.
Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (2000). Absorbing documentary on the battle for vindication of a Japanese American interned by the US government during World War II.
Outrage (2009). Kirby Dick’s documentary outs closeted politicians whose antigay records, it contends, contradict their homosexuality.
Stonewall Uprising (2010). Documentary recounting the 1969 “rebellion” by gays in New York city against police raids, that catalyzed the gay liberation movement.
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984). A moving documentary about one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, gunned down by a fellow city supervisor in 1978. Made into the Hollywood film Milk (2008), starring Sean Penn.
Two Towns of Jasper (2001). A documentary about the murder of James Byrd, in which blacks interview blacks and whites interview whites in the two racially separate communities within the town.