Multimedia Center

Racism Then

The following videos relate to historical forms of racial prejudice and discrimination. To suggest other videos, please use our Contact Us page.

Martin Luther King: "I Have a Dream"

17:28 minutes

ItalandVeganWorld

This video shows Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech in its entirety. Speaking on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, Dr. King describes his dream of a society in which people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Japanese Relocation (U.S. government film)

9:29 minutes

U.S. Government

This vintage U.S. government film claims that the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was carried out with "real consideration for the people involved" and "special emphasis" on the care of Japanese-American children. The film is narrated by the Director of the War Relocation Authority, who says of the internment: "we are protecting ourselves without violating the principles of Christian decency."

My Japan (U.S. government film)

9:56 minutes

U.S. Government

This U.S. Treasury film was created to stimulate sales of war bonds during World War II. Shot as a fake Japanese documentary with actual scenes of graphic wartime violence, the film presents frightening racial stereotypes of Japanese people. "Human lives are cheap," says the mock Japanese narrator. "Unlike you, we have no cowardly illusions about their value... By all means, come to my Japan, if you dare. And welcome! It is beautiful here -- as beautiful as the sight of your blood on our bayonettes." [Full film]

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

3:17 minutes

World News Network

This clip commemorates Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her bus seat to a White passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955. The segment, excerpted from the award-winning Eyes on the Prize documentary, tells the story of Ms. Parks' arrest and how it ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott. See also:

Bull Connor: Segregation at All Costs

10:19 minutes

Eamon Ronan

This documentary is about Bull Connor (1897-1973), a Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham, Alabama, who said of racial segregation: "I may not be able to [preserve] it, but I'll die trying!" The video describes how Connor's aggressive tactics backfired, leading to integration in Birmingham and an invigoration of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s.

What About Prejudice? (a 1950s classroom film)

11:28 minutes

Centron Corporation

Produced for educators by McGraw-Hill in 1959, this film illustrates how much American race relations have changed since the early days of school integration. In the film, a group of White students begin to rethink their prejudices after realizing that they've been unfairly judging and stereotyping a student of color named Bruce Jones.

Additional Resources and Searchable Databases

Biography Channel videos:

For other films, clips, and reviews, please see: