The 5 Best Movies to Teach Civil Rights in the Classroom

May 21, 2023 By TeacherTravis 0

Engaging students in civil rights education can be a challenge. What better way to introduce them to these crucial themes than through the power of film? In this post, we’ll delve into five remarkable movies that brilliantly portray the struggle and triumph of civil rights. For each film, we’ll provide a brief overview and explain how they illuminate the educational concept of civil rights. We’ll also link to their IMDb pages and parental guides so you can make an informed decision. So, what are the 5 best movies to teach civil rights in the classroom? Let’s dive in!

The K12 Deets

1) Hidden Figures (PG – 2016)

First on our list is Hidden Figures. This stirring movie follows a team of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role in NASA’s early space program. It’s a compelling story of overcoming racial and gender discrimination while making significant contributions to science and technology. It’s a perfect movie to introduce students to the intersection of civil rights and STEM.

Hidden Figures Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Formats (PG - 2016) Cover

2) Hamilton (Broadway Musical) (PG13 – 2020)

Introduce your students to the vibrant world of American history through the lens of the Broadway sensation, “Hamilton“. This musical captures the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, with an innovative blend of rap, hip-hop, and traditional musical theater styles. It’s a dynamic way to engage students in historical events while also sparking discussions about art and culture.

Hamilton Movie (Broadway Musical) Guide | Questions | Worksheet (PG13 - 2020) Cover

3) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Revisit a classic tale of morality, justice, and innocence in “To Kill a Mockingbird“. Based on Harper Lee’s acclaimed novel, this movie explores the deep-seated prejudices in a small Southern town through the eyes of a young girl named Scout. Its timeless themes make it a valuable teaching tool for discussions about empathy, ethics, and social inequality.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Slides | Cover

4) Remember the Titans (PG-2000)

Immerse your students in the gripping story of “Remember the Titans”. This film presents the real-life account of a newly-integrated high school football team in Virginia during the 1970s. It’s a powerful exploration of racial tension, teamwork, and leadership that can inspire students to reflect on unity and overcoming adversity.

Remember the Titans Movie Guide Cover

5) Selma (PG13 – 2014)

Bring the pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement to life with “Selma”. This movie portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s monumental march from Selma to Montgomery, a defining moment in the fight for voting rights. It provides an impactful context for students to understand the complexities and sacrifices made during this era of American history.

Selma Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Forms (PG13 - 2014) Cover

Do you want to search for more movies by their educational key concept?

Check out this blog post to discover 21 educational key concepts and find more movies that align with each one!