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December 20 , 2010

Documenting the Black Experience

Essays on African American History, Culture and Identity in Nonfiction Films


History taught at the elementary, middle, high school and even college levels often excludes significant events from African American history, such as the murder of Emmett Till or the murder of four black girls by the Ku Klux Klan in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Such events are integral parts of history that continue to inform America's racial politics. Their exclusion is a problem that this work addresses by bringing more visibility to documentary films focusing on the events. Books treating the history of documentary films follow a similar pattern, omitting the efforts of filmmakers who have continued to focus on African American history. This book works to make documentary discourse more complete, bringing attention to films that cover the African American experience in four areas – civil rights, sports, electronic media, and the contemporary black struggle – demonstrating how the issues continue to inform America's racial politics.

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