This year, for the first time ever, all 50 states will recognize Juneteenth (June 19) as a federal holiday.
To honor Black history, freedom, and achievement on the day that commemorates the moment in 1865 when Texas slaves found out two-and-a-half years late that they were free — thus bringing about an official end to slavery in the United States — WORLD Channel have put together a curated playlist of 19 documentary titles that center the stories of Black people and American heroes of African descent.
Chris Hastings, exec producer/managing editor of WORLD Channel expressed hope that “our curated offerings help viewers remember the past while envisioning the promise of the future,” per a press release.
The titles highlighted in the viewing guide include Ashley O’Shay’s 2020 doc “Unapologetic,” which follows two young Black queer women, Janaé and Bella, and takes place over the course of four years, reflecting on campaigns to address the police killings of Rekia Boyd in 2012 and Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Other highlights include “Goin’ Back To T-Town,” written by Carmen Fields, and director Yoruba Richen’s “How It Feels To Be Free.” The former tells the story of the prosperous town of Greenwood, a Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was subjected to one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history. The latter is a contemporary look at racism in the entertainment industry told from the viewpoint of Nina Simone, Pam Grier, and other iconic Black female entertainers.
Meanwhile, the short “On All Fronts,” directed by Joua Lee Grande, offers insight into the experiences of a biracial family impacted by the anti-Black and anti-Asian violence of 2020-21, and how they navigated difficult conversations around racial reckoning.
To view the full list and to find information about how you can watch the films, view WORLD Channel’s 19 Films to Watch to Celebrate Juneteenth here.