Celebrate Black History Month with 21 Great Film Adaptations

This year’s pool of Oscar nominees is notably diverse. “In a sharp contrast to the previous two years, when the academy put forward all-white rosters of acting nominees, voters chose the largest number of black candidates ever,” the Times reports, including six films and a record number of black actors and filmmakers.

Two of the Best Picture-nominees in question are based on outstanding works of literature. To follow is a list of books by and about African Americans and the films these books inspired, including two miniseries too good not to mention.

2017 oscar nominees

Fences, by August Wilson

 Hidden Figures, by Margo Lee Shetterly


malcolm xThe Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley and Malcolm X (Malcolm X, 1992)

Beloved, by Toni Morrison (Beloved, 1998)

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (The Color Purple, 1985)

 Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress, 1985)

for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, by Ntozake Shange (For Colored Girls, 2010)

I, Tina, by Tina Turner with Kurt Loder (What’s Love Got to Do with It, 1993)

Lady Sings the Blues, by Billie Holiday and William Dufty (Lady Sings the Blues, 1972) [Editor’s note: I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH!!!]

lady sings the blues A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines (A Lesson Before Dying, 1999)

Miracle at St. Anna, by James McBride (Miracle at St. Anna, 2008)

Native Son, by Richard Wright (Native Son, 1986)

 Roots, by Alex Haley (Roots, 1977)

The Pursuit of Happyness, by Chris Gardner (The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006)

Push, by Sapphire (Precious, 2009)

A Raisin in the Sun,
by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun, 1961)

raisin in the sun Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 2005)

Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Man, by Steve Harvey (Think Like a Man, 2012)

Twelve Years A Slave, by Solomon Northup (12 Years a Slave, 2013)

Waiting to Exhale, by Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, 1995)

The Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor (The Women of Brewster Place, 1989)



About the Author:

Karen Kleckner Keefe is the director of the Hinsdale (IL) Public Library, a Booklist reviewer, and one of Library Journal's 2009 "Movers and Shakers." Follow her on Twitter at @KarenKleckner.

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