Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain
Genre: Documentary | Director: Robert Gardner | Language: English | Length: 117 minutes | Country: Mediterranean, Global | Year: 2007 | Rating: PG

Over a thousand years ago, Europe experienced one of its greatest periods of cultural enlightenment.For more than three centuries in Medieval Spain, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together and prospered in a thriving multicultural civilization. Here, remarkable individuals of different faiths made lasting contributions in such areas as poetry, art, architecture, music, dining etiquette, science, agriculture, medicine, engineering, navigation, textiles, and even hydraulic technology.

Their rich, complex culture reached a high point in the Mediterranean Middle Ages. However, larger forces in conquest of land and power brought about puritanical judgments, absolutism and religious extremism. The conflict they triggered extinguished the shared learning that once flourished in this enlightened land.

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain takes viewers through an engaging, insightful journey into this critical period in world history. This website allows you to further explore this significant past to better understand the present.

Lesson plans and classroom ideas available here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: 6.C.1.2, WH.H.2.5, WH.H.3.1

Prince Among Slaves

Prince Among Slaves
Genre: Documentary | Director: Andrea Kalin, Bill Duke | Language: English | Length: 58 minutes | Country: United States | Year: 2007 | Rating: NR

Prince Among Slaves recounts the true story of an African Muslim prince who was captured and sold into slavery in the American South. After 40 years of enslavement, he finally regained his freedom, became a national celebrity, and dined in the White House. This is an incredible story about an incredible man who endured the humiliation of slavery without ever losing his dignity or his hope for freedom.

His story of courage and forbearance under the meanest of circumstances is a powerful drama that not only speaks directly to the African American experience, but also to the human experience. It expands our idea about what it means to be human, what we’re capable of surviving, and how our dignity can remain intact, even when under relentless assault. And because his story takes place beginning around 1776, it also illuminates the foundational period in American history as viewed from a perspective that is generally ignored when thinking about the establishment of the country: that of the African people enslaved in the early years of nationhood.

Watch the documentary online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: 8.H.3.1, 8.C&G.1.4, 8.C.1.1, AH1.H.3.2, AH1.H.3.4, AH1.H.4.1, AH1.H.4.4, USH2.H.3.3,WH.H.5.1, WH.H.5.3

The Iranian-Americans: PBS

The Iranian-Americans: PBS
Documentary, Made for TV | Director: Andrew Goldberg | Language: English | Length: 57 minutes | Country: Iran, United States | Year: 2012 | Rating: TV-PG

Filmed around the United States, The Iranian Americans chronicles the under-reported history of a group of immigrants finding refuge, overcoming adversity and ultimately creating new lives in the United States. With Iran in the news virtually every day, many Americans have little knowledge of the story of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who live here in the US.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: 7.H.2.3, WH.H.8.2, 12.C.1.3 (Sociology)