Fannie Lou Hamer, the great civil and voting rights activist, suffered the injustice of sterilization against her will.
Harriet Tubman’s story has action, drama and plenty of intrigue. What a marvelous opportunity for an established or up-and-coming black actress. Tubman is an American hero with crossover appeal.
Although Robert Smalls is no household name, his story is incredible. He escaped slavery to become a sea captain and politician. He freed himself and his family by commandeering a Confederate transport ship to freedom in Charleston. He also founded the Republican Party of South Carolina.
The slave rebellion of Nat Turner would surely make for an incendiary, albeit slightly controversial film. It would be a great opportunity to set the record straight on a scandalous chapter in slavery’s history.
Born to slaves, Ida B. Wells spent her life leading anti-lynching crusades and fighting for social equality for African-Americans. Using her skills as a writer and orator, she traveled as far as the UK during her career, which she began in the 1890s. What if Octavia Spencer player her?
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, wrote books, became an advisor to presidents and was the voice of black America for decades. Why have we never seen his story on the big screen?
Forget The Aviator, Bessie Coleman was the first-ever black female aviator and he stunt-filled airshows are the stuff of legend. This would be another great part for a rising black female movie star.
Want some adventure? How about the story of the first men to explore the North Pole featuring Matthew Henson the intrepid explorer who has never truly gotten his due.
Madam C. J. Walker was the brains behind a cosmetics empire, she was a philanthropist and the first black multi-millionaire. Yet her story is largely unknown to most Americans. A big budget movie could change that.
Paul Robeson was a true renaissance man. An All-American college athlete, star of stage and screen, plus a political activist — he could be the subject of a top-notch biopic.
Flamboyant and fiery, Marcus Garvey was one of the most exciting and powerful black figures of his time. Can’t you just see Treme’s Wendell Pierce bringing him to life?
The brave and irascible Sojourner Truth is an icon for both women’s rights and black history. Her escape from slavery and legal victory over her son’s captors would make for an enthralling movie.
Perhaps Gabourey Sidibe could follow-up her Oscar-worthy role in Precious with a biopic of Fannie Lou Hamer? The civil rights activist was a passionate speaker and advocate for justice.
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The Academy Awards are airing this weekend, and with them will come the inevitable griping from film fans of color about the dearth of African-American nominees and black-themed films. Even though the stars of The Help are front-runners for Oscar, many feel that there are more compelling true stories that would make ideal big-screen adaptations. Why has there never been a big-screen version of Harriet Tubman’s story? Wouldn’t a film about Marcus Garvey or Paul Robeson be endlessly entertaining and informative? Check out the slideshow below of black biopics we’d love to see.