This being Black History Month, we figured school kids are probably a little tired of the same old textbook tales of Rosa Parks and Brown vs. Board of Education.

Fortunately, black history has been made on the screen, too, with dozens of significant features that have attempted to get the story down on film and cast some light on the turbulent journey of black America. And let us apologize in advance for leaving out 'Roots'--first on a technicality (it was a TV mini-series, not a feature film), and second because it was so influential that we've retired its jersey.

Here are 10 that we think were game-changers. This being Black History Month, we figured school kids are probably a little tired of the same old textbook tales of Rosa Parks and Brown vs. Board of Education.

Fortunately, black history has been made on the screen, too, with dozens of significant features that have attempted to get the story down on film and cast some light on the turbulent journey of black America. And let us apologize in advance for leaving out 'Roots'--first on a technicality (it was a TV mini-series, not a feature film), and second because it was so influential that we've retired its jersey.

Here are 10 that we think were game-changers.

'Lilies of the Field' (1963)
While it may not seem to be a "black" film on the surface (after all, most of the characters are German nuns), 'Lilies' marked the emergence of Sidney Poitier as a major star, and made the Bahamian native the first black star to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Even more importantly, his portrayal of Homer Smith was a rare instance (at the time) of a black man playing a dominant, non-threatening character, and laid the groundwork for Poitier's later career-defining roles in 'To Sir, With Love' and 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.'

'Shaft' (1971)
Richard Roundtree's portrayal of badass cop John Shaft kicked off the blaxploitation wave of the '70s in fine style. While the film doesn't exactly scream 'Oscar,' it did establish the image of the don't-mess-with-me black man at a time when Black Power was becoming much more than just a catchy slogan. And be honest -- when you hear that wah-wah start up in the theme song, you have to smile at that baaad mother.... shut your mouth!

'Sounder' (1972)
In 1972, Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson were both nominated for Best Actress (for 'Lady Sings the Blues' and 'Sounder', respectively) -- the first time two black women had ever been named in the same year. Neither of them won, of course, but we'll go out on a limb here and say that Tyson's portrayal of sharecropper's wife Rebecca Morgan has held up better over time, and is nowhere near as tragic as Ross' take on Billie Holiday.

'The Color Purple' (1985)
Way back before Whoopi Goldberg owned 'The View' and Oprah owned everything else, the future showbiz queens teamed up in Steven Spielberg's touching adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the extraordinarily tough life of Celie Johnson. Sure, Spielberg didn't know much about the Deep South, or being black, but he knew his way around the camera well enough to earn the film 11 Oscar nods, including two for his soon-to-be-huge rookie actresses.

'Hollywood Shuffle' (1987)
To shoot this belly-laugh spoof of Hollywood African-American stereotypes, Robert Townsend put $40,000 of the production costs on his personal credit cards. Along with being one of the more hilarious send-ups of the movie biz, Townsend also managed to convey the pain that black performers had endured by playing pimps and gangsters -- as well as the joy of blowing up that idea once and for all. Anybody want a Winky Dinky Dog?

'Do the Right Thing' (1989)
With Public Enemy providing a hardcore soundtrack commentary, Spike Lee's kinetic camerawork captures a Brooklyn neighborhood on a sweltering summer day, and unveils the simmering racial tensions that eventually explode in an orgy of violence. With an all-star cast that includes Giancarlo Esposito, Danny Aiello, Bill Nunn, and John Turturro, Lee captures the seemingly inevitable conflict of black vs. white, and young vs. old. Before this, Lee was a promising and provocative filmmaker. 'Do the Right Thing' made him an important one.

'Boyz N the Hood' (1991)
If 'Do the Right Thing' captured New York, then John Singleton made the L.A. version two years later. Only 24 at the time, Singleton told the harrowing tale of half brothers Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut), one focusing on getting into college via football, the other falling prey to the temptations of the neighborhood gang. Then there's their friend Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who's trying his best to walk the straight and narrow. Raw and unpredictable, 'Boyz' set the standard for ghetto drama for years to come.

'Malcolm X' (1992)
For a couple years in the early '90s, everywhere you looked you saw young men wearing 'X' caps in anticipation of Spike Lee's epic biography of the slain civil rights leader. It wasn't just for fashion; with Denzel Washington earning an Oscar nomination in the title role, Lee's film was a masterpiece, tracing Malcolm's evolution from streetwise hustler (Denzel in a zoot suit!) to enlightened cultural icon. Serious yet entertaining, Lee is at his best here, boasting a storytelling skill that easily matches his grand vision-and justifies all that headwear.

'Hoop Dreams' (1994)
Steve James' gripping documentary follows the struggle of two Chicago high school teammates who have a common goal of pursuing a career in basketball. Over the course of five years, we see one thrive in an elite high school, while the other has to alter those dreams as they both deal with urban living. Like the best docs, it's a real-life story that's full of tragedy and joy, and just as unpredictable and heartbreaking.

'Precious, Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire' (2009)
Every few years or so we get an film that throws a harsh light on ghetto life, and nothing in recent years has done it as unflinchingly as 'Precious.' Featuring a star-making performance by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, Lee Daniels' tale of an illiterate Harlem teen who's impregnated twice by her own father never retreats from some hard truths about life in the underclasses. Serious stuff, but worth every bleak frame.