Family time is the best time to teach your children about the contributions of African Americans to the rich culture of our nation. While you might not have the time or resources to take your children to the Martin Luther King monument in Washington, DC, there are great movies you can watch that are as entertaining as they are educational.

This early ’90s science fiction flick is about a young hooligan from Detroit who is hit by a car. When he awakens, he finds himself no longer in the Motor City but in South Carolina in 1822 as a slave. He has to help his fellow slaves so he can get back to his own time. During this he learns to not take for granted the luxuries of the future — including an education.

Based on the 1968 children’s book by Virginia Hamilton, ‘The House of Dies Drear’ is the story of a 13-year-old African American boy, Thomas Small, who moves into a house in rural Ohio that was once a part of the Underground Railroad. Not long after moving in strange things begin to happen and Thomas begins to believe the house is haunted by the ghost of former slaves.

This HBO original film chronicles the life of Vivien Thomas, a black surgical technician, and his relationship surgeon Alfred Blalock, known as a pioneer in modern heart surgery. Thomas was hired by Blalock to do janitorial work in the 1930s, but eventually assisted him in solving the heart problem known as “Blue Baby Syndrome.”

This film, directed by Denzel Washington, follows an historically black college debate team in Texas during the Great Depression. This movie may not be great for the little ones as it deals with some of the realities African Americans in the Jim Crow South endured including racial slurs and lynchings.

If you’re looking for something to watch over several days, consider ‘Eyes on the Prize.’ This 14-hour documentary chronicles the African American Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1964 and includes archival footage and original interviews with key players.

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