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What is BLM?

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a social and political movement which began after the fatal shooting of 17- year-old Trayvon Martin in 2013. The movement protests against police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people. BLM's mission is centered around criminal justice reform, empowering black communities, and combatting white supremacy.

Awareness of police brutality in the United States reached an all-time high when protests erupted around the world following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd was an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis who was arrested after being suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill. After being handcuffed, police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while two other officers restrained the rest of his body. Floyd’s case is only one of many killings of unarmed African Americans in recent years. As a consequence of his death and the deaths of others, such as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in order to demand change in the criminal justice system.

Scenes from Black Lives Matter Protest

IUB Streaming Titles

The following resources require IUB CAS Authentication.

America After Charleston (56min., 2015) This PBS town hall meeting, moderated by Gwen Ifill, explores the many issues around race relations that have come to the fore after a white gunman shot and killed nine African-American parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, and the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds that followed.

#Black Lives Matter  (57min., 2015)  Reporter Sally Sara takes to the streets of Baltimore and Chicago to investigate a reawakened civil rights movement that's fighting to stop the killing of black Americans.  Includes numerous segments, including Birth of a Mass Movement (2:15), and more.

Black Lives Matter (47min., 2017) In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States. This film interviewed co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the various forms of violence against black citizens, and why resistance is essential.

Do the Right Thing (120min., 2012) Racial tensions grow in a Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of the summer. This powerful visual feast combines humor and drama with memorable characters while tracing the course of a single day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. It's the hottest day of the year, a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever.

Minds that Matter John Lewis ( 59min., 2009) No one grasps the connections between social activism, electoral politics, and racial issues better than Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), perhaps the most prominent living veteran of the American civil rights movement. In 2007, he received the Robert J. Dole Leadership Prize from the University of Kansas and, in conjunction with the award, granted this in-depth interview before a live audience. Rep. Lewis discusses an epic range of topics, including his childhood in segregated Alabama; his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the back-stage dilemma over his speech at the finale of the March on Washington; his role in the attempted march from Selma to Montgomery; the ongoing need for social activism today; and more.

Policing the Police ( 53min., 2016) The new FRONTLINE documentary, Policing the Police, is a provocative journey inside one police force that's been ordered to reform by the Department of Justice: the Newark Police Department in New Jersey. Take a nuanced glimpse into how topics in the national discussion about race and policing are playing out every day on the streets of Newark, in community members' homes, and in the city's police precincts.

Racial Facial  (8min., 2016)  Racial Facial is a short, 8 minute film about race in America. It provides a blur of fascinating images and video—historical and contemporary—depicting both the division and blending that has characterized the history and treatment of people of color in this country. Beginning with this country’s history of slavery and discrimination against African Americans, eradication and colonization of Native Americans, exclusion of Asian Americans and exploitation of Mexican and Latin Americans, Racial Facial depicts a visual panorama which encompasses the history of oppression and discrimination that has led to continuation of tension, unrest and anger among all Americans. The film contains certain central themes—that of protest and the consequence of protest, police brutality, killings, incarceration and the failed and successful attempts at reconciling the contradictions and inequities created by racial division. The film aims not to place blame, but to identify the causes of ignorance and individual and institutional racism, and then provide a degree of self-realization in the viewer that sparks new solutions.

Ted Talks, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter (16min., 2016) Born out of a social media post, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked discussion about race and inequality across the world. In this spirited conversation with Mia Birdsong, the movement's three founders share what they've learned about leadership and what provides them with hope and inspiration in the face of painful realities. Their advice on how to participate in ensuring freedom for everybody: join something, start something and "sharpen each other, so that we all can rise."

White Like Me (69min., 2013) White Like Me, based on the work of acclaimed anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise, explores race and racism in the US through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. In a stunning reassessment of the American ideal of meritocracy and claims that we've entered a post-racial society, Wise offers a fascinating look back at the race-based white entitlement programs that built the American middle class, and argues that our failure as a society to come to terms with this legacy of white privilege continues to perpetuate racial inequality and race-driven political resentments today.

Whose Streets (102min., 2017) Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, WHOSE STREETS? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters.

IUB DVD/Video Films

During Covid, only IU faculty, staff and students can borrow materials from Media Services with a valid IU crimson card.  Face masks are required. Be sure to check with Media Services for hours.  VHS titles are housed off-site at ALF, and can be requested via IUCAT.  Possible keyword search:  Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter Movement, Civil Rights. Limit to film & video, dvd/videodisc, Bloomington campus. 

Agents of Change (66min., 2016) From the well-publicized events at San Francisco State in 1968 to the image of black students with guns emerging from the takeover of the student union at Cornell University in April 1969, the struggle for a more relevant and meaningful education became a clarion call across the country in the late 1960s. Through the stories of the young men and women who were at the forefront of these efforts, Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country that led to these protests, revealing how unprepared these institutions were when confronted by demands for black studies programs, safer housing, fairer judicial proceedings, and changes to democratize the institutions. The film's characters were at the crossroads of change and controversy at a pivotal time in America's history. Written by Ginzberg Films.

Blackkklansman (135min., 2018) Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.

Criminal Justice: Death and Politics at Attica (59min., 2013) Forty years after the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War, the dead remain buried along with the truth. Until now. Based on interviews with eyewitnesses who just now are telling their stories, as well as access to newly discovered documents, the film sheds new light on exactly what happened at Attica between September 9-13, 1971. Criminal Injustice raises compelling new questions about the 39 deaths at Attica, White House involvement, and the corrupting influence of Nelson Rockefeller's political aspirations before, during, and long after the deadly retaking of the prison. Former hostage Michael Smith said that "the cover up started as soon as the shooting stopped." This film reveals that the truth actually may have been concealed long before that.

I Am Not Your Negro (94min., 2017)  Using James Baldwin's unfinished final manuscript, Remember This House, this documentary follows the lives and successive assassinations of three of the author's friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., delving into the legacy of these iconic figures and narrating historic events using Baldwin's original words and a flood of rich archival material. An up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, this film is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.

La haine= Hate (97min., 1995) Contains an introduction by Jodie Foster. Three young, unemployed Frenchmen living in the ghettos surrounding Paris get embroiled in a violent conflict with the local police.

Paula ( 93min., 2010?)  A former student leader returns to Brazil from years of political exile after the military regime he fought is defeated. Unfortunately, his daughter is missing, and the police officer in charge of the investigation is the same officer who had tortured the protester's girlfriend during the student uprisings years ago.

Reflection Unheard Black Women in Civil Rights (81min., 2013) Archival footage and in-depth interviews with former members of organizations including Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Black Panther Party reveal how black women mobilized, fought for recognition, and raised awareness of how sexism and class issues affected women of color within and outside The Black Power Movement and mainstream feminism.

Selma (128min., 2015) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historical struggle to secure voting rights for all people. A dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1964.

The Rodney King Incident: Race and Justice in America  (56min., 2013?) Presents the unedited version of the Rodney King videotape as well as new evidence ignored by the major media at the time. All of the key participants are interviewed, including Rodney King, the police officers, the state trial prosecutor, and former L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates. All parties offer their divergent points of view about these tumultuous events.

Where the Pavement Ends (86min., 2018) This film was informed by many residents of 'North County' in St. Louis, people with deep roots in Kinloch and Ferguson.

Internet Resources

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) -- BAJI educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social and economic justice. Local BAJI Organizing Committees in New York, Georgia, California and Florida with staff in Texas and Minnesota, build coalitions and initiate campaigns among communities to push for racial justice. At the local and regional level, BAJI provides training and technical assistance to partner organizations to develop leadership skills, works with faith communities to harness their prophetic voice, and initiates vibrant dialogues with African Americans and black immigrants to discover more about race, our diverse identities, racism, migration and globalization.

Black Lives Matter - #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

Black Stories Matter (NYU Production Lab) - The NYU Production Lab is a storytelling incubator whose mission is to help the next generation design and launch thriving careers in creative industries.

Bloomington BLM Chapter - Black Lives Matter B-town announced its reformation and reboot in 2019 with new core council members, this included an amended organizational strucure to allow for growth and greater focus on goals. Those goal are anti-racism education, policy, racial food justice and collective liberation through intersectional actions. Since February of 2019 BLM B-town has consisted of many progressive black activist leaders supported by progressive activist non-black identifying people of color and white members. The local chapter of #BLM is committed to bringing the group in line with the Guiding Principles outlined by the national Black Lives Matter organization. To that end, we are creating new working agreements, projects, committees, and ways of looking at local issues that concern BLM and the black, brown, and progressive communities. BLM B-town is was and always will be a Black led space, but we are specifically a Black progressive afro-futurist  space as well. 

Color of Change - Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.  We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

The Marshall Project - Since 2014, The Marshall Project has been curating some of the best criminal justice reporting from around the web. In these records you will find the most recent and the most authoritative articles on the topics, people and events that are shaping the criminal justice conversation. The Marshall Project does not endorse the viewpoints or vouch for the accuracy of reports other than its own.