While PBS kicks off Black History Month in fine style tonight with the broadcast premiere of the ITVS-funded American Promise on POV [trailer], Independent Lens and PBS’s Black Culture Connection have launched four of our films to watch for free online, all month long. The films are:

All will be available throughout February, with the exception of More than a Month, which will be up until March 9. These films will also be available for free to watch using the PBS app on streaming devices like ROKU, Xbox, and Apple TV.

About the Films

Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock is the result of  a seven-year journey by filmmaker Sharon La Cruise to unravel the life of the forgotten civil rights activist who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. The New York Daily News called it a “powerful show on a woman who was both an integrationist and a feminist in a town that was highly suspicious of both in the 1950s.” The SF Weekly wrote that La Cruise “uncovers a personality as complex as the era.” See our lesson plan here to learn (and teach) more about Daisy Bates.

From Soul Food Junkes
From Soul Food Junkies

For Soul Food Junkies, check out these user-submitted healthy soul food recipes that accompanied the film premiere, and read this interview with filmmaker Byron Hurt. “It’s a very smart film, alarming but not shaming, about how vexing it is to tell people to eat differently when they associate making great traditional foods with the closest social bonds they have,” wrote Linda Holmes for NPR. IndieWire called it a “vastly entertaining, hilarious, passionate, revelatory and thoroughly researched documentary which examines Soul Food’s significance in Black American culture… Easily one of the year’s best.” See some of our educational resources to learn more.

Speaking of Hurt, the former star college quarterback, longtime hip-hop fan, and gender violence prevention educator conceived Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes as a “loving critique” of a number of disturbing trends in the world of rap music. The documentary features interviews with rappers like Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, and Busta Rhymes, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and cultural commentators such as Michael Eric Dyson and Beverly Guy-Sheftall.  The film is “invaluable for understanding not only one aspect of African American culture but how it relates to the rest of American culture as well.” (San Francisco Chronicle) Check out some of our lesson plans and modules created specifically for the film here.

And More than a Month is certainly an appropriate, if atypical and even ironic choice, to commemorate Black History Month. The film follows Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a young African American filmmaker, on a cross country campaign to end Black History Month. Why would he want to do that? Well, watch the film to find out. We also created lesson plans accompanied by short film clips and a discussion guide with Community Cinema to further the dialogue about this, as well as a cool “More than a Map(p)” app.


And connected to all this, PBS’s Black Culture Connection is partnering on an original blog series that goes “behind the lens” of cultural architect and campaign photographer Eunique Jones Gibson, and her powerful images in Because of Them, We Can. The series brings a modern twist to history through photography to tell the rich story and history of African American icons through the eyes of our nation’s youth.