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On TV: Black History Month – February 2020

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A still from Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool by Stanley Nelson

KQED is proud to celebrate Black History Month in February with a special TV programming lineup. Premiere dates are listed below. Please click on each program for additional airdates and information.


 Saturday, 2/1
6pm John Lewis – Get in the Way
Follow the journey of civil rights hero, congressman and human rights champion John Lewis. At the Selma March, Lewis came face-to-face with club-wielding troopers and exemplified non-violence. Now 76, he is considered the conscience of Congress.

8pm Saturday Night Movie: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (NEW)
A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiance.

Sunday, 2/9
6:30 am 70s Soul Superstars (My Music)
Join Patti LaBelle for an all-star reunion of the legends of 1970s Motown, R&B and soul, including the Commodores, original lead Eugene Record reuniting with the Chi-Lites, the Stylistics, Yvonne Elliman, Heatwave, the Trammps and the Emotions.


9am African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross Marathon
This 6-part series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through five centuries of historic events right up to present day - when America has a black President, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Monday, 2/10
10pm Independent Lens #2109 “Cooked: Survival By Zip Code” (NEW)
Learn the story of a heat wave that overtook Chicago in July 1995, killing 739 residents, most of them poor, elderly and African American. The heat wave revealed a long-term crisis of poverty, racism, and economic and social isolation in the city.

Tuesday, 2/11
8pm Finding Your Roots #608 “Slave Trade” (NEW)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. journeys with film director Ava DuVernay, actor S. Epatha Merkerson and musician Questlove to the unexpected places where their ancestors were scattered by slavery, upending their notions of African American history.

9pm Fight: American Experience #1702
Learn the interweaving stories of two extraordinary men, boxers Max Schmeling of Germany and American Joe Louis, culminating in what was arguably the most politicized sporting event in history: the 1938 heavyweight championship of the world.

Sunday, 2/16
10am Marian Anderson: Once in a Hundred Years
Marian Anderson is considered one of the most important opera performers of the 20th century. The celebrated contralto was born in South Philadelphia on Feb. 27, 1897, and played a vital role in the acceptance of African Americans in classical music and other segregated performing arts genres.

11:30am Reconstruction: America After the Civil War #101
Experience the aftermath of the Civil War - a bewildering, exhilarating and terrifying time. For African Americans, despite their hard-won freedom, support for their social, economic and political gains did not last.

2pm Reconstruction: America After the Civil War #102
Explore the rise of Jim Crow and the undermining of Reconstruction's legal and political legacy, and see how African Americans fought back using artistic expression to put forward a "New Negro" for a new century.

Tuesday, 2/18
11pm AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1202 “Amina” (NEW)
The documentary follows the journey of an African immigrant woman living in Istanbul, Turkey and the cultural challenges she faces as she pursues her dreams.

Friday, 2/21
7pm Overheard with Evan Smith #1010 “Saeed Jones, Poet and Author”
Poet and author Saeed Jones talks about his debut memoir, "How We Fight For Our Lives."

Monday, 2/24
10pm Independent Lens #2111 “Always in Season” (NEW)
In 2014, African American teenager Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set. His mother believes he was lynched. Stark inconsistencies and few answers from officials drive her to lead efforts in what has become an ongoing fight for the truth.

Tuesday, 2/25
9pm Miles Davis: American Masters #3109 (NEW)
Discover the man behind the legend. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews.

11pm AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1203 “Daddy and the Warlord”
The documentary follows a daughter's captivating quest to understand why her father collaborated with three corrupt government leaders in Liberia and with the infamous war criminal Charles Taylor.


Monday, 2/3
11:30pm Aretha! Queen of Soul
This program, to mark the passing of Aretha Franklin, includes archival footage from her storied career, and interviews that will evoke the memory of the "Queen of Soul." The special is hosted by Hari Sreenivasan.

Thursday, 2/6
10am The Long Shadow (NEW)
When two daughters of the South, Director Frances Causey and Producer Sally Holst, set out to find causes for the continuing racial divisions in the United States, they discovered that the politics of slavery didn't end after the Civil War.

10pm B.B. King: American Masters #2903
Explore B.B. King's challenging life and career through candid interviews with the "King of the Blues," filmed shortly before his death, and fellow music stars, including Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and Ringo Starr.

Friday, 2/7
7pm Hollywood's Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story (NEW)
He was called “Architect to the Stars” because of the elegant homes he created for Hollywood’s elite. And his name is associated with some of the most iconic architecture of Los Angeles. But architect Paul Williams was not always welcome in the restaurants and hotels he designed or the neighborhoods where he built homes, because of his color.

Sunday, 2/8
7am Jackie Robinson #101
Robinson rises from humble origins to integrate Major League Baseball, performing brilliantly despite the threats and abuse he faces on and off the field and, in the process, challenges the prejudiced notions of what a black man can achieve.

9am Jackie Robinson #102
Robinson uses his fame to speak out against injustice, alienating many who had once lauded him for "turning the other cheek." After baseball, he seeks ways to fight inequality, but as he faces a crippling illness, he struggles to remain relevant.

Sunday, 2/9
Noon Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes
This revealing biography, told in Count Basie's own words, uncovers for the first time the private passions and ambitions that inspired the world-famous bandleader and pianist. Until recently, little was known about Basie's private and family life, but this documentary uncovers a treasure-trove of home movies and photo albums that expose Basie's remarkable relationship with his wife Catherine, whose pioneering support for African-American causes placed her at the side of Martin Luther King.

Monday, 2/10
11:15pm Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up
The documentary examines the life of civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer, offering first-hand accounts by those who knew her and worked side by side with her in the struggle for voting rights.

Tuesday, 2/11
11pm Jazz Ambassadors
Discover how the Cold War and Civil Rights movement collided when America asked Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman to travel as cultural ambassadors and combat racially charged Soviet propaganda through their music.

Thursday, 2/13
9:30am AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1201 “My Friend Fela and Birth of Afrobeat” (NEW)
A new perspective on the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, "My Friend Fela" is told through conversations with his close friend and official biographer, African-Cuban Carlos Moore. The accompanying live-action animated short, "Birth of Afrobeat," tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre.

9pm Sammy Davis, Jr: American Masters
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.

Friday, 2/14
7pm Groveland Four
The documentary chronicles the injustices faced by these defendants at the hands of the Jim Crow-era U.S. criminal justice and court systems, employing historical re-enactments, witness accounts, and narration by actor Courtney B. Vance.

Saturday, 2/15
7:30am Africa’s Great Civilizations #101
Beginning deep in the continent's past with the origins of Homo sapiens and the "Out of Africa" migration of all of our human ancestors from east Africa, Gates vividly paints a picture of the earliest African civilizations - from Ancient Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush to the end of the 19th century as Africans faced Europe's infamous "Scramble for Africa" - through their artistic and cultural achievements, their religious practices and political and social structures.

8:34am Africa’s Great Civilizations #102
Gates charts the rise of Christianity and Islam, whose economic and cultural influence stretched from Egypt to Ethiopia. Learn of African religious figures like King Lalibela, an Ethiopian saint, and Menelik, bringer of the Ark of the Covenant.

9:47am Africa’s Great Civilizations #103
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the complex trade networks and advanced educational institutions that transformed early north and west Africa from deserted lands into the continent's wealthiest kingdoms and learning centers.

11am Africa’s Great Civilizations #104
Gates explores the power of Africa's greatest ancient cities, including Kilwa, Great Zimbabwe and Benin City, whose wealth, art and industry successes attracted new European interest and interaction along the continent's east and west coasts.

12:20pm Africa’s Great Civilizations #105
Gates explores the impact of the Atlantic trading world, giving rise to powerful new kingdoms, but also transatlantic slave trade. Learn of the revolutionary movements of the 18th-early 19th centuries, including the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate.

1:40pm Africa’s Great Civilizations #106
Gates explores the dynamism of 19th-century Africa, the "scramble" by European powers for its riches, and the defiant and successful stand of uncolonized Ethiopia.

Monday, 2/17
11:30pm Gennett Suite (NEW)
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music associate professor Brent Wallarab conducts the Indiana University student jazz ensemble in an original composition, which pays tribute to the Jazz Age titans whose legendary early recordings were produced at a little studio in Richmond, Indiana called Gennett Records.

Thursday, 2/20
9pm Maya Angelou: American Masters
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.

Friday, 2/21
7pm Dreams of Hope (NEW)
The film tells the story of a historic concert at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, more than 50 years after a hate crime there killed four African American girls. Conducted by Dr. Henry Panion III, the concert performance features musical instruments that serve as symbols of hope - violins restored from Holocaust concentration camps.

Monday, 2/24
11:30pm Our American Family: The Clarks
The first half of the 1900's represents the last era of American life that, for most families, began largely unchanged from the generations that came before. For generations, the Clark family of Frankford, DE has shown tremendous support of one another as members faced hard times with tender loyalty.

Thursday, 2/27
7pm Dream Land: Little Rock's West 9th Street
Little Rock, Arkansas' West 9th Street was once a vibrant, African-American business and entertainment district. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, Taborian Hall is the only remaining historic structure on West 9th Street and stands as a living witness to the street's former glory days.

9pm Lorraine Hansberry: American Masters
Explore the life and work of the A Raisin in the Sun playwright and activist who played a significant role in the civil rights movement. LaTanya Richardson Jackson narrates. Anika Noni Rose is the voice of Lorraine Hansberry.


Sunday, 2/2
7pm Slavery by Another Name
This film challenges one of America's most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Monday, 2/3
6pm Local, USA #314 “’63 Boycott”
On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed 'Willis Wagons,' on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools.

Tuesday, 2/4
4pm Independent Lens #2010 “Black Memorabilia”
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.

5pm America ReFramed #603 “Agents of Change”
Agents of Change looks at a pivotal moment when our nation was caught at the intersection of the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Anti-Vietnam War Movements. The 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.

6:30pm P.O.V. Shorts #201 “The Changing Same”
In the Florida Panhandle lies the town of Marianna, Florida, where one native resident runs a local marathon to commemorate the lynching of Claude Neal. More than 80 years after his violent murder, this film lifts the veil of racial terror buried in this town's history.

Wednesday, 2/5
4pm Independent Lens #1911 “Tell Them We Are Rising—The Story of Black Colleges and Universities”
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is a documentary and interactive project that explores the pivotal role historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played in American history, culture, and national identity.

Friday, 2/7
4pm George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life
While George Washington Carver's rise from slavery to scientific accomplishment has inspired millions, time has dulled the luster of his reputation, reducing him to the man who did something with peanuts. This documentary uncovers Carver's complexities and reveals the full impact of his life and work.

5pm Boss: The Black Experience in Business
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. Stanley Nelson directs.

Sunday, 2/9
4:30pm David Rubenstein Show: Peer to Peer Conversations #212 “Colin Powell”
The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business.

5pm Nature #3402 “My Congo”
Wildlife cameraman Vianet Djenguet returns to the Congo to reveal the beauty and majesty of his homeland. During his journey, he discovers his roots in a vibrant "African Eden" and a jungle tribe who reveres his great-grandfather

8pm 1964: The Fight for a Right
By the mid twentieth century, Mississippi's African Americans had suffered from nearly 75 years of slavery by another name - Jim Crow discrimination. In 1964 in Mississippi, people died in an effort to force the state to allow African Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Mon, 2/10
4pm Prince Among Slaves
This special tells the forgotten true story of an African prince who was enslaved in Mississippi for 40 years before finally achieving freedom and becoming one of the most famous men in America. Mos Def narrates.

5pm AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1204 “Gilda Brasileiro: Against Oblivion”
The program tells the story of one woman's fight to expose the history of an illegal 19th century slave-trading post in the Brazilian rainforest, where hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved.

6pm Justice in Chester (NEW)
During the 1990s, residents in Chester, Pennsylvania, a predominantly poor, African American community, organized a movement to stop the ongoing permitting of waste treatment facilities in their city. Between 1986 and 1996, the PA Department of Environmental Protection issued seven permits for commercial waste facilities in the county, and five of them were in the 4.8 square miles of Chester.

Tuesday, 2/11
5pm America ReFramed #705 “Late Blossom Blues”
Leo "Bud" Welch's recording and touring career begins at the age of 81. Born in Mississippi, Leo worked the cotton fields and lumber mills from dawn until dusk. When he picked up a guitar for the first time at the age of 12, his blues were born out of those cotton fields.

Wednesday, 2/12
4pm Redeeming Uncle Tom: The Josiah Henson Story
Redeeming Uncle Tom: the Josiah Henson Story tells the story of Josiah Henson (voiced by actor Danny Glover), the real-life inspiration for Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 1852 novel, which has been recognized as one of the sparks that ignited the Civil War.

Friday, 2/14
5pm In Their Own Words #102 “Muhammad Ali”
Follow Muhammad Ali's path from a gym in Louisville to boxing successes, conversion to Islam, opposition to the draft, exile from the ring, comeback fights, Parkinson's disease and his inspirational re-emergence at the Atlanta Olympics.

6pm Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP
The film incorporates rare archival film and extraordinary interviews to explore Marshall's life in the years leading up to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, including his upbringing in Baltimore, his education at Howard University Law School ("the West Point of the civil rights movement"), his status as a rising star within the NAACP, his skill as an orator and storyteller, his relationship with his mentor Charles H. Houston, and his high-profile segregation cases involving voting, transportation, housing, labor and the military.

Saturday, 2/15
4pm Finding Your Roots #404 “The Vanguard”
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and author and activist Janet Mock see their basic assumptions about their families challenged, placing their ancestors - of all colors - into the greater context of black history.

Sunday, 2/16
4:30pm David Rubenstein: Peer to Peer Conversations #214 “Condoleezza Rice”
The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business.

7pm The Talk: Race in America
In the wake of recent tragic and fatal events between men of color and law enforcement, learn how black and Hispanic families counsel their kids to stay safe if they are stopped by the police.

Monday, 2/17
4pm Beyond Barbados: The Carolina Connection (NEW)
The colony of South Carolina actually began somewhere else, almost two thousand miles across the sea. The settlement of Charles Towne that would grow into the colony of South Carolina owes its origins and success to a tiny island in the West Indies.

5pm AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1205 “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela/Spit on the Broom” (NEW)
A classic documentary by award-winning director Thomas Allen Harris, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela" tells an intimate tale about an African-American family, the anti-apartheid movement, and the quest for reconciliation between a father and son.

Tuesday, 2/18
4pm AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange #1101 “Mama Africa! Miriam Makeba”
Using archival performance footage and interviews with those who knew her best, and with Makeba herself, the documentary examines the life of the iconic South African singer and activist.

5pm America ReFramed #704 “Struggle & Hope”
Among the wealth of untold stories in American history is the rise and slow disappearance of all-black towns that sprung up in Oklahoma following the end of the Civil War.

Friday, 2/21
4pm An Evening with Ken Chenault
Take a rare, inside look into the life and career of one of America's most successful CEOs, Ken Chenault, featuring Warren Buffett, Ursula Burns, Vernon Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, David Rubenstein, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Ken Frazier, and more.

Saturday, 2/22
3:30pm The Music Makers of Gennett Records (NEW)
THE MUSIC MAKERS OF GENNETT RECORDS tells the story of the little studio in Richmond, Indiana that captured early recordings of Jazz Age music legends Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, and the singing cowboy Gene Autry.

Monday, 2/24
4pm Fighting on Both Fronts: The Story of the 370th
FIGHTING ON BOTH FRONTS: THE STORY OF THE 370TH tells the little-known story of a unit of African American soldiers from Illinois, largely from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, who fought in combat for the United States under the French during World War I.

4:30pm Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution—Independent Lens
Stanley Nelson tells the story of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which sought to transform a system of racial oppression.

Tuesday, 2/25
4pm Talking Black in America
Talking Black in America follows the unique circumstances of the descendants of American slaves and their incredible impact on American language. Speech varieties in African American communities reflect the imprint of African language systems, the influences of regional British and Southern American dialects, and the creativity and resilience of people living through oppression, segregation and the fight for equality.

5pm America ReFramed #406 “Baddddd Sonia Sanchez”
For 80-year-old Sonia Sanchez, writing is both a personal and political act. She emerged as a seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women's liberation, and peace as a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and early champion of the spoken word.

Friday, 2/28
4pm From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis
Follow ballet dancer Frederick Davis' personal journey, which began with a broken family and homelessness. His exposure to dance at 11 changed his life - he found inspiration and support from Ballet Tennessee, his church family and a caring community.



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