Entertainment

Watch These Documentaries About Racial Justice for Free in the Coming Weeks

Films about James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Ferguson, Missouri.

free racial justice documentaries, magnolia pictures
'I Am Not Your Negro' | Magnolia Pictures
'I Am Not Your Negro' | Magnolia Pictures

Since the start of national movement protesting the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many other Black people at the hands of police officers, media companies have started to make more films by and about Black artists and activists available to the public. Warner Media released Just Mercy about human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson for free, and the Criterion Channel removed their paywall on several films by Black directors, including The Watermelon Women and Daughters of the Dust

Now, Magnolia Pictures is making three of its relevant films available for no fee in eight different cities on the next three consecutive Sundays. The effort is being funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an arts and journalism advocacy group, and hosted by O Cinema, which has a location in South Beach but has been hosting screenings virtually.

This Sunday, the organizations will screen I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. One of the best documentaries of 2016, I Am Not Your Negro uses James Baldwin's own words from an unfinished manuscript as it tells the story of America through three of Baldwin's murdered friends: Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Next week, on June 14, they will stream Whose Streets?, which chronicles the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was shot six times by the police. Finally, on June 21, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, about the author of essential works such as Beloved and The Bluest Eye, will be made available. 

Residents of Akron, Ohio, Charlotte, North Carolina, Detroit, Macon, Georgia, Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose, California, and St. Paul, Minnesota can participate in the program by registering at O Cinema's website. They'll receive a link to the documentary that will be viewable for 24 hours. A conversation about the film will also be broadcast each following Monday. 

If you are not in one of the cities listed but still want to watch these vital films, you can stream I Am Not Your Negro with an Amazon Prime subscription, and Whose Streets? and Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am on Hulu.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.