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Annenberg Classroom Presents Films to Watch for Black History Month

Annenberg Classroom, a project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, offers five films for Black History Month in partnership with The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.

  • “Thurgood,” a film production of the critically acclaimed play, stars Laurence Fishburne, who gives a powerful performance as Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first Black justice on the Supreme Court and civil rights leader. Free registration is required for the 1 hour, 45 minute film.
  • Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio“: This 25-minute documentary tells the story of Dollree “Dolly” Mapp, who stood up to police who tried to enter her home without a search warrant in 1957. Her act of defiance led to a landmark Fourth Amendment ruling in which the Supreme Court decided that evidence illegally obtained by police is not admissible in state courts.
  • Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company“: This 23-minute documentary follows the legal battle by Thaddeus Edmonson, a Black construction worker whose personal-injury lawsuit against his employer evolved into a landmark decision on jury selection. The Supreme Court ruled that parties in civil cases cannot use race-based peremptory challenges to reject potential jurors.
  • “A Conversation on the Constitution: The Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury”: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Stephen G. Breyer, and Anthony Kennedy discuss the importance of the Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co. ruling in this nine-minute film.
  • “An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron: This 34-minute documentary, featuring Justice Stephen G. Breyer and leading constitutional scholars, chronicles two key moments that defined our understanding of the role of the judiciary: the Cherokee Nation’s struggles to preserve its homeland and Cooper v. Aaron (1958), which affirmed that states were bound to follow the Supreme Court’s order in Brown v. Board of Education to integrate their schools.
Image of Thaddeus Edmonson from the Annenberg Classroom movie
Thaddeus Edmonson in the Annenberg Classroom film “Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company.”

Annenberg Classroom provides a free comprehensive multimedia curriculum for teaching the Constitution to middle and high school students and learners of all ages that includes films, games, lesson plans, timelines, books, and the Annenberg Guide to the Constitution: What It Says, What It Means.

The Civics Renewal Network, another project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, is an alliance of 37 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations committed to improving civics education in the nation. Additional free online resources for Black History Month from the partner organizations can be found here.