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Celebrate Black History Month with GPB and PBS

Karen Pittman (foreground) and Namir Smallwood (background) in "Pipeline." Photo courtesy of Jeremy Daniel.

GPB presents special programming to commemorate Black History Month as part of its commitment to celebrate the diversity of America year-round. Beginning in February and continuing into the spring, we will offer new documentaries along with encore programming to spotlight those who have made significant contributions to America. From Independent Lens documentaries exploring the various experiences of Black Americans, to American Masters programs that highlight famous artists who achieved success over prejudice and injustice, to historical programs from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of African American history and culture. 

 

Willie on a horse from "Hale County This Morning, This Evening." Courtesy of RaMell Ross.
A Closer Look

 

From historically significant antiques to the exploration of African American lives, new programs from Independent Lens and Live from Lincoln Center will introduce viewers to individuals who take back their communities to preserve and protect their identities.

Independent Lens “Black Memorabilia” (Wednesday, February 6) introduces the people who reproduce, consume and reclaim black memorabilia, racially charged objects often wrapped in the protective embrace of antiquity and historical preservationFollowing is the critically acclaimed Independent Lens “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (Wednesday, February 13)which examines the world of Hale County, Alabama. This film shares intimate moments in the lives of African Americans in the community and offers a detailed glimpse at life in America’s Black Belt with an emotive impression of the historic South. Live from Lincoln Center “Pipeline” (Friday, February 8 ) features the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Dominique Morisseau's riveting and critically acclaimed new play that follows Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher who is desperate to give her son opportunities her students will never have. 

 

Sammy Davis, Jr. with camera in a scene from the documentary Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me." Courtesy of The Estate of Altovise Davis.
Icons and Leaders

 

American Masters presents a lineup of programs that reflect on the contributions of Black Americans in music and entertainment.  

Directed by Sam Pollard, Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (Tuesday, February 19) examines the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress in 20th-century America. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of shifting political territory. The documentary features new interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, and excerpts from Davis’ electric performances. The documentary Charley Pride: I’m Just Me (MondayFebruary 25) reveals the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride.

 

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., executive producer and host of Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Courtesy of McGee Media.
Black History Past to Present

 

PBS takes viewers on a journey of personal discovery.

The fifth season of the always surprising Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premiered on Tuesday, January 8 with a diverse group of actors, authors, politicians, comedians and more who discover their unexpected personal histories. Personalities featured this season include Michael Strahan, S. Epatha Merkerson, Kehinde Wiley, Michael K. Williams, Joe Madison and many more highlighted in the 10 new episodes. Reconstruction: America After the Civil War (Tuesdays, April 9,16), executive produced and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the transformative years when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction and revolutionary social change.  And from acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Boss: The Black Experience in Business tells the untold story of African American entrepreneurship, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide the backbone of this nation’s economic and social growth. 

You can stream these programs following their broadcast on GPB.orgPBS Black Culture Connection and PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. They’ll also be available to view on GPB Passport.

 

The full programming lineup for Black History Month and beyond:

 

FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., SEASON 5

(Tuesdays, January 8-February 26; April 2 and 9, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.)

Join Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to uncover the surprisingly ancestral stories of 25 cultural trailblazers with fascinating histories. Featuring Laura Linney, Michael Strahan, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Kehinde Wiley, Tig Notaro, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, S. Epatha Merkerson and more.

 

 

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS “Buddy Guy/August Greene”

(Available to stream on GPB.org after broadcast Saturday, February 2)

Thrill to an hour of blues and hip-hop with Buddy Guy and August Greene. Blues legend Guy plays hits and songs from his latest album, The Blues is Alive and Well. Hip-hop supergroup August Greene performs songs from its self-titled debut.

 

 

INDEPENDENT LENS “Black Memorabilia”

(Wednesday, February 512:00-1:00 a.m.)

From the South to Brooklyn to China, meet the people who reproduce, consume and reclaim black memorabilia, racially-charged objects often wrapped in the protective embrace of antiquity and historical preservation. Directed by Chico Colvard.

 

 

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Pipeline” 

(Available to stream on GPB.org after broadcast Friday, February 8)

Meet Nya, an inner-city teacher desperate to save her son, in Dominique Morisseau’s new play. When her son gets in trouble at school, Nya must confront his rage and her choices, and try to reach him before he gets pulled away forever. Co-produced by BroadwayHD.

 

 

INDEPENDENT LENS “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”

(Wednesday, February 1212:00-1:00 a.m.)

Visit the world of Hale County, Alabama. Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments in the lives of people in the community, the film offers a richly detailed glimpse at life in America’s Black Belt. Directed by RaMell Ross.

 

 

AMERICAN MASTERS “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” 

(Tuesday, February 19, 9:00-11:00 p.m.)

Explore the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th century America. Features Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and clips from his TV, film and concert performances. Directed by Sam Pollard.

 

 

AMERICAN MASTERS “Charley Pride: I’m Just Me”

(Monday, February 2510:00-11:00 p.m.)

Explore the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride. Raised in segregated Mississippi, his journey shows the ways that artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice. Directed by Barbara J. Hall.

 

RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR  

(Tuesdays, April 9 and 16, 9:00-11:00 p.m.)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the history of the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction and revolutionary social change.

 

INDEPENDENT LENS “Charm City”

(Monday, April 22, 10:00-11:30 p.m.)

Meet a group of Baltimore citizens, police and government officials as they cope with the consequences of three years of unparalleled violence. With grit, fury and compassion, they’re trying to reclaim their city’s future. Directed by Marilyn Ness.

 

BOSS: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINES

(Tuesday, April 23, 8:00-10:00 p.m.)

Learn about the untold story of African American entrepreneurship, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide the backbone of this nation’s economic and social growth. From acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson.