Midnight Ramble: Narrated by James Avery, this movie was part of the “American Experience” series produced by the PBS TV network. Midnight Ramble tells the story of the independent black filmmaking era that thrived in America between 1910 and World War II. The films made by black filmmakers during this time displayed a counteractive side to stereotypes publicized by Hollywood. Oscar Micheaux is one of the black filmmakers profiled in this movie. Midnight Ramble also covers the history of late night segregated screenings.
This Black History Month movie originated on VHS and is very difficult to buy new. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to find Midnight Ramble on DVD. The few places that sell this Black History movie have it priced around $30. Some public libraries also carry this movie, allowing members to watch it without having to purchase the video. Libraries are a good way to gain access to a Midnight Ramble. An alternative would be to find a private seller who is offering this Black History Month movie.
Two Towns of Jasper: A good way to celebrate Black History month is by reminding younger generations about important events that have not happened to long ago. Two Towns of Jasper is a feature length documentary that examines the racially motivated murder of an African American man named James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas. In the summer of 1998, James Byrd Jr. was beaten, chained to a truck and dragged three miles to his death. His three assailants were white and had ties to the Arayan Nation. The manner in which Two Towns of Jasper was made is one aspect that makes this documentary a noteworthy film of interest.
One black filmmaker and one white filmmaker collaborated on this movie using two different crews, segregated by race to document the town of Jasper. Video clips and trailers from Two Towns of Jasper are available online. While, the video can be obtained by contacting PBS, other stores on the internet sell the DVD for around $15. The target discount store also sells this movie on Black History events. It is important to make sure that this movie is in stock before ordering from PBS or other stores.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin: While this movie on Black History has been remade numerous times, most versions seem to be available from private sellers. The more current remake of Uncle Tom’s Cabin stars Phylicia Rashad and Avery Brooks and was released in 1987. However, the older black and white version appears to be the only one available on both VHS and DVD. An earlier version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was originally released in 1927 and re-released in 1999. This Black History movie costs between $25 and $29.99 depending on where you shop.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was based on a famous novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe with the same title. It covers the realities of slavery in the south. All releases of Uncle Tom’s Cabin appear to be narrative films. Most of the remakes are silent but copies are available to purchase in various formats. Uncle Tom’s Cabin movies are also available at rental stores.