PBS is proud to celebrate Black History this February and all year round! In 2018, watch a new slate of programs and join timely and important conversations about race in America with independent documentaries, and more! Explore. Watch. Connect. Visit pbs.org/blackhistory for a full lineup of programs. All films are available to watch online one day after airing on public television. Check your local PBS TV Schedule for EST/CST listings.
Nas Live from the Kennedy Center – 2/2 at 8:00
Nas reflects on partnering with the Kennedy Center to perform a symphonic version of “Illmatic” with the National Symphony Orchestra. Steven Reineke discusses branching out into hip-hop and rap for the first time as a classical orchestra conductor. Great Performances — Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop premieres Friday, February 2 at 9/8c on PBS (check local listings).
We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told 2/9 at 10:30
The hour-long documentary features the talents of international jazz legends George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn and Mary Lou Williams—all Pittsburghers. Using archival footage and photos, it also sheds light on the social conditions and historical events that conspired to make Pittsburgh one of the world’s leading contributors to the legacy of jazz music.
INDEPENDENT LENS | Winnie 2/11 at 11:00
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is one of the most misunderstood and intriguing of contemporary female political figures. Her rise and seeming fall from grace bear the hallmarks of epic tragedy. For the first time on screen, Winnie explores her life and contribution to the struggle to bring down apartheid in South Africa from the inside, with intimate insight from Winnie herself, those who were closest to her and the enemies who sought to extinguish her radical capacity to shake up the order of things.
POV: Do Not Resist 2/12 at 10:00
A vital and influential exploration of the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Do Not Resist puts viewers in the center of the action; from inside a police training seminar that teaches the importance of “righteous violence” to the floor of a congressional hearing on the proliferation of military equipment in small-town police departments.
Independent Lens: Tell Them We are Rising 2/19 at 9:00
The rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) began before the end of slavery, flourished in the 20th century, and profoundly influenced the course of the nation for over 150 years — yet remains largely unknown. With Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, the latest documentary from Stanley Nelson (Black Panthers, Freedom Riders) and Marco Williams, the powerful story of the rise, influence, and evolution of HBCUs comes to life.
Education of Harvey Gantt 2/19 at 10:30
Harvey Gantt was the first black student to matriculate to Clemson University in January 1963. He graduated with honors with a degree in architecture and went on to earn a master’s degree in city planning from MIT. Gantt was the first African American mayor of Charlotte serving from 1983–87.
The desegregation of Clemson is notable not only because it was the first college or university in South Carolina to accept a black student but also for its nonviolence. In an era when other Civil Rights accomplishments were heralded by riots, brutality and drama, the entrance of Harvey Gantt to Clemson University was remarkable for its peace and dignity. Because it was not a sensational news story, the desegregation of Clemson has not been well-documented or remembered. “The Education of Harvey Gantt” aims to correct that oversight and bring the story to South Carolina and the nation.
Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart
Full Film | Online Video expires February 16, 2018
Click/View Film Here: Lorraine Hansberry
On March 11, 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway and changed the face of American theater forever. As the first-ever black woman to author a play performed on Broadway, she did not shy away from richly drawn characters and unprecedented subject matter. The play attracted record crowds and earned the coveted top prize from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle. While the play is seen as a groundbreaking work of art, the timely story of Hansberry’s life is far less known.
Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is the first in-depth presentation of Hansberry’s complex life, using her personal papers and archives, including home movies and rare photos, as source material. The film explores the influences that shaped Hansberry’s childhood, future art and activism.