January 31, 2008

Black History Month Programming on PBS

PBS broadcasts programming created by and about African Americans year-round, from public affairs to history to independent film to kids programming. In celebration of Black History Month, February 2008, PBS will broadcast a lineup of new and encore presentations honoring and exploring African American history.


  • SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA (Repeat programming on Fridays, January 11-February 1, 2008, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) - This groundbreaking series chronicles the institution of American slavery from its origins in 1619 — when English settlers in Virginia purchased 20 Africans from Dutch traders — through the arrival of the first 11 slaves in the northern colonies (in Dutch New Amsterdam), the American Revolution, the Civil War, the adoption of the 13th Amendment and Reconstruction. Morgan Freeman narrates.

  • AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (February 2008 *check local listings) - Renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level. Using genealogy and DNA science, Dr. Gates tells the personal stories of eight accomplished African Americans.

  • AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: EYES ON THE PRIZE (February 2008 *check local listings) - The groundbreaking documentary series examining America's civil rights years returns to public television as part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Covering the period from the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi, and the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott through school desegregation, the march from Selma to Montgomery and the Voting Rights Act, EYES ON THE PRIZE is considered the definitive history of this formative time in the nation's life.

  • AN EVENING WITH QUINCY JONES (February 2008 *check local listings) - A rare look into the life of music mogul Quincy Jones, this one-hour interview was taped in Washington, DC, in front of an audience. Gwen Ifill interviews and hosts the star-studded evening, which features live performances by Lesley Gore, BeBe Winans, James Ingram, Bobby McFerrin and Herbie Hancock.

  • EYES ON THE PRIZE II, A SPECIAL PRESENTATION OF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE (February 2008 * check local listings) - Nearly two decades after its 1990 premiere, the groundbreaking second season of EYES ON THE PRIZE returns to PBS as a special presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE in February 2008 in honor of Black History Month. The series documents the journey of black Americans seeking justice, power and identity, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, and shows the profound effect this movement had on all Americans.

  • FANNIE LOU HAMER: COURAGE AND FAITH (February 2008 *check local listings) - Using archival footage and interviews with those who knew her well and were affected by her actions, this program chronicles the extraordinary life of Fannie Lou Hamer and introduces her to a new, younger generation. Mrs. Hamer attended the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party and challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation.

  • INDEPENDENT LENS "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" (February 2008 *check local listings) - This film takes an in-depth look at machismo in rap music and hip-hop culture — where creative genius, poetic beauty and mad beats collide with misogyny, violence and homophobia.

  • LEGACY: BEING BLACK IN AMERICA (February 2008 * check local listings) - In January 2007, a special tribute dinner was held in Washington, DC, to honor the Civil Rights generation. Attended by 18 celebrated African Americans from business, politics, academia, media and the arts, the dinner proved to be an intriguing discussion of race consciousness, integration and equity in the U.S. today.

  • RED TAIL REBORN (February 2008 * check local listings) - RED TAIL REBORN is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American fighter pilots of World War II, and of those who sacrificed to tell the Airmen's forgotten tale.

  • SHARED HISTORY (February 2008 * check local listings) - SHARED HISTORY is the intimate story of the relationship between two families whose connection was forged in slavery and has endured to the present. The filmmaker, the great-great-granddaughter of a slave owner, and Rhonda Kearse, a descendant of one of the enslaved families, seek to understand and reconcile the reality of slavery with the shared lives and affections between the families.

  • SISTERS OF SELMA: BEARING WITNESS FOR CHANGE (February 2008 * check local listings) - This program is an unabashedly spiritual take on the Selma, Alabama, voting rights marches of 1965 from some of its unsung foot soldiers – Catholic nuns. Following the violence of "Bloody Sunday," sisters from around the country answered Dr. Martin Luther King's call to join the protests in Selma.

  • THE STORY OF OSCAR BROWN JR. (February 2008 * check local listings) - This documentary focuses on Chicago native Oscar Brown Jr.'s work as a writer and performer for more than half a century.

  • PRINCE AMONG SLAVES (Monday, February 4, 2008, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) -- This special tells the forgotten true story of an African prince who was enslaved in Mississippi for 40 years before finally achieving freedom and becoming one of the most famous men in America. Mos Def narrates. In HD where available.

  • AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 (Wednesdays, February 6-13, 2008, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET) -- AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES again journeys deep into the African-American experience to unearth the triumphs and tragedies within the family histories of an all-new group of renowned participants. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. returns as series host. In HD where available.

  • AUSTIN CITY LIMITS "Etta James" (Saturday, February 9, 2008, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) The Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award winner continues to be one of the most respected R&B singers in America. Highlights include "All the Way Down" and "At Last."

  • INDEPENDENT LENS "Banished" (Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET) - This is the story of three counties that forcefully banished African American families from their towns 100 years ago — and the descendents who return to learn a shocking history. Co-production of ITVS in association with NBPC.

  • AUSTIN CITY LIMITS "Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed" (Saturday, February 23, 2008, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) - Joined by blues luminaries James Cotton, Delbert McClinton, Lou Ann Barton and others, guitarist Jimmie Vaughan pays tribute to Jimmy Reed, composer of blues classics "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," "Big Boss Man" and "Baby What You Want Me to Do." In HD where available.

PBS has a great legacy of providing first-rate programs with depth and breadth. The programs planned for February document and examine the rich heritage and cultural contributions of African Americans. I plan to watch many of these shows. How about you?


Deidra said...

Thank you so much! I need to learn more about our black pioneers and history. I plan to tune in to most of these shows. Hopefully I don't have class during all of them - TIVO comes in handy at this time :(

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Villager,

Thanks for this information. I've linked to this post on my sidebar.

Unknown said...

Deidra - I don't have TIVO so I can't give you any clues on what it feels like to have it...

MDC - Asante sana for the link-love...

Anonymous said...

Also check out TONY BROWN'S JOURNAL on Feb 22nd or 23rd if it airs on PBS in your area. Tony Brown interviews SC Justice Clarence Thomas.

Unknown said...

Anon - Clarence Thomas?!? ... uhhhh... and what value to our lives is there in hearing from Clarence Thomas?