1. 4 Little Girls
This 1997 historical documentary film is about the September 15, 1963 murder of four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. It was directed by Spike Lee and nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary”.
2. Adam Clayton Powell
This 1989 documentary film directed by Richard Kilberg about the civil rights leader. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
3. The Story of the Greensboro Four
This 2003 feature film by Rebecca Cerese and Steven Channing tells the story of four young college freshman, Joe McNeil, David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Ezell Blair Jr. now Jibreel Khazan, who staged a sit-in at Woolworth’s in 1960 to protest segregation practices.
4. Freedom on My Mind
This 1994 documentary was directed by Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. This film is about the efforts to register African-American voters in 1960s Mississippi and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
5. King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery To Memphis
This 1970 documentary film is a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his non-violent campaign for civil rights and social justice. It used only original newsreel and other materials, unvarnished and unretouched, and covered the period from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 through his assassination in 1968. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Features.
6. Malcolm X
This 1972 documentary is also known as Malcolm X: His Own Story as It Really Happened was directed by Arnold Perl. It is based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
7. The March – We Shall Overcome
This 1964 documentary also known as The March to Washington is a film by James Blue about the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. In 2008, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
8. Mighty Times: The Children’s March
This 2004 short documentary film is about the Birmingham civil rights marches. It was directed by Robert Houston and produced by Robert Hudson and co-produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center and HBO. The film won an Academy Award in 2005 for Documentary Short Subject.
9. Neshoba: The Price of Freedom
This 2008 documentary was about events and attitudes in Neshoba County, Mississippi decades after the 1964 Mississippi civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwener were murdered during Freedom Summer. This documentary won 15 awards in the States as well as Kenya, Canada, Monaco and Berlin.
10. Nine from Little Rock
This 1964 documentary directed by Charles Guggenheim about the first nine African-American students to attend an all-white Arkansas high school in 1957. The film, narrated by Jefferson Thomas who was one of the Little Rock Nine. He passed away in 2010. The film won Guggenheim his first Academy Award in 1965 for Documentary Short Subject.