Public Media Celebrates Black History Month

Jan. 31, 2018

PBS Black History Programming

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) commemorates Black History Month with investments in public media content that explores the history and culture of African Americans.

Throughout February, public media stations nationwide are presenting an inspiring and educational lineup on air and online at pbs.org/blackhistory.  This includes PBS special programming and a series of all-new "America RE:Framed" documentaries on the WORLD Channel.  Check your local PBS station listings for local air dates and times for these and other programs:

"Winnie" – Monday, February 5, on "Independent Lens"

Explore the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, globally known as the wife of Nelson Mandela, in this documentary about her contribution to the struggle to bring down apartheid.

Winnie Mandela at press conference, 1989. Courtesy of Adil Bradlow/Africa Media Online
Winnie Mandela at press conference, 1989. Courtesy of Adil Bradlow/Africa Media Online, by Thirteen/WNET

"Gentlemen of Vision" – Tuesday, February 6, 2018 – WORLD Channel – "America RE:Framed"

Set in the heart of St. Louis, "Gentlemen of Vision" follows a year in the life of coach, counselor and founder, Marlon Wharton, and his 2015-2016 class of young black males as he strives to rewrite prospects for his students.

"For Ahkeem" – Tuesday, February 13, 2018 – WORLD Channel – "America RE:Framed"

Expelled from high school, Daje Shelton is only 17 years old when she is sentenced by a judge – not to prison, but to the Innovative Concept Academy. It offers Daje one last chance to earn a high school diploma.  

"Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise" – Friday, February 16, on "American Masters"

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou led a prolific life. She inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
"Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise." Dr. Maya Angelou, circa late 70s/early 80s. Courtesy of Getty

"Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities" – Monday, February 19, on "Independent Lens"

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, "Tell Them We Are Rising" examines the impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had on American history, culture and national identity, beginning with the earliest attempts at education to today’s campuses.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
"Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities." Spelman College class, 1898. Courtesy of Spelman College

"Agents of Change" – Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – WORLD Channel

This film examines the racial conditions on college campuses across the U.S., focusing on two seminal protests: San Francisco State in 1968 and Cornell University in 1969. These protests paved the way for student equity and inclusion and led to establishing the first Black and Ethnic Studies departments.

Additional special programming airing throughout the month includes:

"Nas Live from the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop" – Friday, February 2, on "Great Performances" 

Hip-hop artist Nas teamed up with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to stage a symphonic rendition of “Illmatic,” one of the most revered albums in hip-hop history. The program provides an inside look at the inspiration behind Nas’s music and his early life growing up in New York City.

"Freedom Summer" – Tuesday, February 20, on "We’ll Meet Again" with Ann Curry

Join Ann Curry for the dramatic reunions of people who lost touch after the civil rights movement. Fatima hopes to thank Thelma for her courage in the face of racism, and Sherie searches for the friend who inspired her commitment to justice.

In “Freedom Summer,” Fatima Cortez-Todd (left) reunites with Thelma Caulfield (right). Courtesy of Justine Kershaw/Blink Films
In “Freedom Summer,” Fatima Cortez-Todd (left) reunites with Thelma Caulfield (right). Courtesy of Justine Kershaw/Blink Films