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Learning about Black history

Learning about Black history


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

By Virgin TV Edit

We stand in solidarity with Black communities around the world fighting for racial justice. We stand with our colleagues who experience injustice every day. We know we need to do better and we’ll continue to educate ourselves to better support the movement. Because Black Lives Matter.


It’s important that we all think about what type of media we’re consuming. If you want to know more about the history of Black oppression and the context of slavery, here are some films and television series to get you started.

They may not all be an easy watch, but we can’t look away from these truths, as uncomfortable as they might be, because they’re a reality for people every day.   

LA 92

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

This film examines the Los Angeles riots, following the acquittal of four white police officers who beat Black motorist Rodney King in 1992.


Black Lives Matter: Rivers Of Blood – 50 Years On

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Through archive photos, news footage and personal testimonies, explore the history of multicultural Britain in the context of Enoch Powell’s 1968 speech on immigration.


Black Patriots: Heroes Of The Revolution

Find it in Catch Up > Channels > Sky HISTORY from Monday 6 July

Meet the Black heroes of the American Revolution. Former basketball player, writer and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar executive produces.


LA Burning: The LA Riots 25 Years Later

Find it in Search & Discover > Discover TV & Movies > Black Lives Matter

A documentary marking 25 years since the LA riots, as told by the people who were there.


Martin Luther King: Marked Man

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, the film raises the question of whether the US government was involved in his death.


Rise Up: The Movement That Changed America

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This looks back on Martin Luther King Jr’s lasting legacy during the civil rights movement.


Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

The comedian looks back on multicultural sitcoms from the last five decades, while meeting the stars and celebrity fans of each series.


Unremembered – Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes

Find it in Search & Discover > Discover TV & Movies > Black Lives Matter

David Lammy MP hosts and tells the story of how 100,000 or more Africans who died serving Britain during the First World War were denied individual graves.


Justice For Joy

Find it in Apps & Games > All 4

In 1993, Joy Gardner died after being detained during a police immigration raid on her home in London. This documentary from 1995 looks at the fallout and public campaign that followed.


Sticks And Stones

Find it in Search & Discover > Discover TV & Movies > Black Lives Matter

Ashley Walters examines why racially offensive language has become so commonplace.


Why We Hate

Find season 1 in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Executive produced by Oscar-winning directors Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney, this series puts hate under the microscope and asks: “Can we find a way to work against it?”


How Superman Defeated the KKK 

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

In this TV movie, the Ku Klux Klan is infiltrated after the Second World War by author Stetson Kennedy, who feeds information about the organisation to the producers of The Adventures of Superman radio show.


Justice For MLK: The Hunt For James Earl Ray 

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, authorities worked tirelessly to hunt down his killer. This gripping one-off documentary follows the investigation, which lasted more than two months.


The Making Of Mandela 

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Celebrate Nelson Mandela, who devoted his life to the people of South Africa and to dismantling the legacy of apartheid.


Sugar Town 

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

In New Iberia, Louisiana in 2014, Victor White III apparently shot himself while in custody of the New Iberia Sheriff’s Department. His family didn’t believe it, so they launched their own investigation.


Oprah Winfrey Presents: Where Do We Go From Here?

Find it in Search & Discover > Discover TV & Movies > Black Lives Matter

Oprah Winfrey presents a two-night special where she talks to Black thought leaders, activists and artists, including politician Stacey Abrams, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo and journalist Charles M Blow.


The Murder Of George Floyd: A Nation Responds

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Black Lives Matter

Journalist Tony Harris hosts a panel of law enforcement officials, press representatives and activists as they discuss George Floyd’s death and what we need to change moving forward.


A Black And White Killing: The Case That Shook America

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Larnell Bruce, a young Black man, was run over in 2016 by Russel Courtier, a member of a white supremacist gang. Journalist Mobeen Azhar investigates whether his death was racially motivated.


When They See Us

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Ava DuVernay co-wrote and directed this limited series that is based on the tragic case of the Central Park Five.



Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix
Also from Ava DuVernay, this documentary takes its name from the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the US in 1865. She explores the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.


Fruitvale Station

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Michael B Jordan stars as Oscar Grant in this film based on a true story. It shows the events leading up to Oscar’s death at the hands of a police officer.


What Happened, Miss Simone?

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Learn about the iconic singer-songwriter’s life in this biographical documentary film.


Imperial Dreams

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

John Boyega and Keke Palmer star in this tale about a reformed gangster who is released from prison and determined to care for his son and make a better life for himself.


ReMastered: The Two Killings Of Sam Cooke

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Artist and activist Sam Cooke started to become well-known as a soul singer, but his life was cut short at age 33. The documentary explores why his outspoken views on civil rights might have been a contributing factor to his death.


Who Killed Malcolm X?

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Decades after the prominent leader’s assassination, historian, activist and investigative journalist Abdur-Rahman Muhammad decides to dig deeper.


See You Yesterday

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Spike Lee produced this sci-fi film where two teen prodigies attempt to crack the secret to time travel. A police shooting causes them to put their invention to the test as they take a trip to the past.


Rodney King

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Spike Lee directed this one-man show, written by and starring Roger Guenveur Smith. He puts on voices that support and oppose the case of Rodney King, who was beaten by police officers when he was arrested for drunk driving after a high-speed car chase.


How to watch Netflix with Virgin TV

If you have a TiVo® box or Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo®:


Press home on your remote

Select Apps & Games

Select All Apps 

Select Netflix


If you’re already a Netflix subscriber, you can also access the app through Search & Discover or by pressing Red on channel 204. Just sign in with your existing login and start watching. And you’ll only have to log in the first time you use it. 


If you’re new to Netflix, then you’ll need to subscribe to use the app. The easiest way to do this is by going to You can also subscribe using the Netflix app in Apps & Games.

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Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.

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Netflix: Netflix subscription required at extra cost.

Image credits: Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy © UKTV