PBS Honors the Legacy of Black History Month
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Clockwise from top left: Karen Pittman and Namir Smallwood - LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER "Pipeline" (Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel); Charley Pride - AMERICAN MASTERS “Charley Pride” (Courtesy of Greg Mathison); Danai Gurira - BREAKING BIG “Danai Gurira” (Courtesy of Ozy Media); Michael K. Williams and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - FINDING YOUR ROOTS “Mystery Men” (Courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media)
PBS Honors the Legacy of Black History Month
SAY IT LOUD, A New PBS Digital Studios Series, Celebrates Black Culture and Achievements
New Documentaries from INDEPENDENT LENS and AMERICAN MASTERS Delve Deep into African American Experiences
PBS Offers Commemorative Black History Programming for Viewers to Stream Online Through the PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC)
ARLINGTON, VA; JANUARY 10, 2019 – PBS today announced special programming to commemorate Black History Month, as part of its commitment to celebrating the diversity of America year-round.
Coming in February to YouTube and Facebook Watch, SAY IT LOUD is a new PBS Digital Studios series hosted by YouTube sensations Evelyn Ngugi of “Evelyn from the Internets” and Azie Dungey, Emmy-nominated writer and creator of “Ask a Slave.” Part cultural critique, part talk show and part history lesson, SAY IT LOUD will explore Black American culture and its impact on broader communities and trends.
Produced in partnership with KLRU-TV in Austin, Texas, the series’ will dive into the history behind cultural tropes and touch points, and focus on relatable experiences of modern Black American life, exploring media, public affairs and social media trends like #GrowingUpBlack and #BlackGirlMagic. For example, audiences can expect to see episodes that highlight things they didn’t know were invented by Black people, the meaning of Black pride and the experiences of first generation Africans in America compared to African Americans.
“PBS has long had an appreciation of Black history and culture, but SAY IT LOUD is the first series developed for online audiences specifically interested in celebratory cultural content,” Brandon Arolfo, Senior Director, PBS Digital Studios said. “We’re lucky to work with this talented group of women to create a funny, authentic and enlightening series that will ignite an inspirational online community and extend the PBS Digital Studios brand to new, diverse audiences.”
Also coming in February and continuing into the spring, PBS will offer new documentaries and 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.
“PBS always strives to produce content that will enhance our audience’s knowledge of history and culture,” said Perry Simon, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “We are pleased to highlight the African American stories and contributions on and behind the screen in our lineup this February and beyond, and trust that the viewers will find these programs engaging and inspiring.”
These programs are available for streaming following their broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org, PBS Black Culture Connection and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members may be able to view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).
The PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC), an extension of PBS.org, fosters discussion and showcases stories from across PBS that reflect the black experience in America.
The full Black History Month programming lineup is below in airdate order:
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. ET)
Join Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to uncover the surprisingly ancestral stories of 25 cultural trailblazers with fascinating and 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.
Streams: Begins Jan 8, 2019 for several months; Passport: Begins Feb 6, 2019 through early 2023
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS “Buddy Guy/August Greene”
(Saturday, February 2, 2019, 11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET; check local listings)
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.
Streams: Feb 3 – Mar 2, 2019; Passport: Mar 3 – Aug 30, 2019
INDEPENDENT LENS “Black Memorabilia”
(Monday, February 4, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET)
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.
Streams: Feb 5 – Mar 6, 2019; Not available in Passport.
LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Pipeline”
(Friday, February 8, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET)
Meet Nya, an inner-city teacher desperate to save her son, in Dominique Morisseau’s riveting and critically acclaimed 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.
Not available for streaming
INDEPENDENT LENS “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
(Monday, February 11, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET)
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.
Streams: Feb 12 – Feb 24, 2019; Passport: Aug 21, 2021 – Feb 10, 2022
AMERICAN MASTERS “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”
(Tuesday, February 19, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET)
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 new interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, and clips from Davis’ TV, film and concert performances. Directed by Sam Pollard.
Streams: Feb 20 – Mar 19, 2019; Passport: Mar 20, 2019 – Feb 18, 2023
AMERICAN MASTERS “Charley Pride: I’m Just Me”
(Friday, February 22, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET)
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.
Streams: Feb 23 – Mar 22, 2019; Passport: Mar 23, 2019 – Feb 21, 2023
RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
(Tuesdays, April 9 and 16, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET)
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.
Streams: Tues, April 9 – Thurs, May 9, 2019; Passport Fri, May 10, 2019 - April 9, 2023
INDEPENDENT LENS “Charm City”
(Monday, April 22, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET)
Recently honored with a spot on the Best Documentary Feature Oscar shortlist, “Charm City” introduces 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.
Streaming information not yet available.
BOSS: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS
(Tuesday, April 23, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET)
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.
Streams: Tues, April 23 – Sat, May 25, 2019; Passport Sun, May 26, 2019 – April 23, 2022
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW “Celebrating Black Americana”
(Monday, February 4, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET)
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW honors Black History Month with this special episode. Highlights include an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color; an African American beauty book written by Madam C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire; and a trip with host Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Leila Dunbar to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
Streams: Tues, Feb 5 – Sat, Feb 9, 2019
AMERICAN MASTERS “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”
(Monday, February 4; check local listings)
Journey through the prolific life of the “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” author and activist who inspired generations with lyrical modern African American thought. Features new interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Common, the Clintons and others.
Streams: Tues, Feb 5 – Mon, Feb 18, 2019; Passport: Tues, Feb 19, 2019 – Feb 21, 2021
BREAKING BIG “Danai Gurira”
(Friday, February 8, 10:30 -11:00 p.m. ET)
Growing up in Zimbabwe, actress Danai Gurira didn’t see many film and television characters who looked like her. By embracing her culture and her differences, she was able to score roles in such smash hits as Black Panther and “The Walking Dead.” She also wrote the Broadway play Eclipsed, which won critical acclaim and a Tony Award. BREAKING BIG host Carlos Watson relays Gurira’s quest to blaze a trail for more representations of African women in popular culture.
Streams: Through June 29, 2025
Classroom Resources on PBS LearningMedia
PBS LearningMedia, an online destination for educators and students, offers free access to classroom-ready resources that support lessons on black history and culture. A partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, PBS LearningMedia provides a wide array of materials from PBS stations and partners -- including videos, images, interactives, lesson plans, articles, primary sources and more — aligned to state and national standards. Offerings include a Black History Month Collection from Georgia Public Broadcasting that addresses civil rights and cultural history; "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which features content from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s series; "Basic Black," a WGBH series that highlights stories by and about African Americans; and several collections on the Civil Rights Movement. To learn more, please visit pbslearningmedia.org.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook Watch, designed to engage, enlighten and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 19 million subscribers, generating an average of 50 million views a month and has acquired nearly two billion views lifetime views. Currently, the Studio has 18 original series streaming online, including eight series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning It’s Okay to Be Smart, Physics Girl and Crash Course, as well as popular series such as BrainCraft and PBS Space Time .
About PBS LearningMedia
As America’s most trusted institution and number-one children’s educational media brand, PBS is committed to supporting teachers on their journey to spark students’ curiosity. PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is an online destination that offers free access to thousands of resources from PBS stations and partners. These digital tools are designed to enhance classroom instruction -- from videos, images and interactives, to lesson plans, articles and primary sources. Available to all educators pre-K through 12th grade, PBS LearningMedia offers classroom-ready content aligned to state and national standards, compatible with the tools teachers use most, such as Google Classroom, and contextualized with supporting materials. Each month, more than one million unique users visit PBS LearningMedia to enhance teaching practice and support student learning. Learn more at pbslearningmedia.org.
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For SAY IT LOUD Digital Series
Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703-739-5147, email@example.com
Stephanie Kennard, PBS, 703-739-5454, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Black History Month Programming
Michaé Godwin, PBS, 703-739-8483, email@example.com
Sydney Cameron, PBS, 703-739-8130, firstname.lastname@example.org
For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.