10 Best Movies About Race

Monday, February 7 by Glennice Fryson

Some make a statement regarding the times, others simply were made to entertain, but whatever the reason, these are the 10 Best Movies About Race. Movies have always been a way man has left his mark on society. A way we leave a part of our life etched in history for generations to come. Through movies, we can leave messages that will speak to the world. And each generation will take and use something uniquely different from each word spoken.

  1. "Imitation of Life" In the 1934 version, Delilah played by Louise Beavers, is the mother of a light-skinned daughter Peola, played by Fredi Washington, and the maid of a white single mother Bea, played by Claudette Colbert.  Delilah's daughter passes for white and while doing so, denies her heritage and her mother.  
  2. "Body and Soul" Paul Robeson, a Rutgers football star and Columbia-educated lawyer, plays dual roles in this 1925 film. He plays a minister who enamors women with his Biblical prowess, while at the same time, making off with their life savings.    
  3. "Gone With the Wind" Strangely enough, the fact that Hattie McDaniel was cast as the hearty, healthy and bold maid of Tara manor shows the control the black maid had in the old south. McDaniel won best supporting actress award for her role in the movie.
  4. "The Blood of Jesus" Black director Spencer Williams received requests quite often to make movies during the race movie era. "The Blood of Jesus" is a race movie about an angel and devilfighting for the soul of a woman who is killed by her unbelieving husband.
  5. "Carmen Jones" Dorothy Dandridge played the lead role in this Oscar Hammerstein race movie with an all-star black cast. She teams with Harry Belafonte who later becomes her lover. At the age of 41, Dandridge, suffering from depression, took an overdose of pills. She was found dead by her agent. 
  6. "Native Son" The tale of a black Chicago youth, hired as a chauffeur to a white family. He takes the daughter for a joy ride and in a mishap, the daughter is accidentally killed. So begins a chase that ends in tragedy.  
  7. "Lady Sings the Blues" Not only was Berry Gordy a music Mogul, he also was a movie mogul. He produced "Lady Sings the Blues" specifically to feature his love interest Diana Ross. The sad race movie is the story of beautiful Billie Holiday.
  8. "A Soldier's Story" Starring Howard E. Rollins, Jr., and Denzel Washington, whose dynamic acting career was just beginning to blossom. "A Soldier's Story" is an epic murder mystery surrounding the murder of a white soldier. Rollins plays the all-business, check-your-attitude-at-the-door, military attorney assigned to handle the case.
  9. "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" Directed by and starring Melvin Van Peebles, this is one of the best movies about race.  In this movie Van Peebles incorporates a scene with his son Mario. Blaxploitation at it best or worse. Whatever the case, Van Peebles stepped on the band wagon and came out a winner with a movie he invested $50,000 and grossed over $20 million.
  10. "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs" Stars Sidney Poitier as San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs who is called in to investigate the murder of a prostitute by a street preacher and political candidate.  
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