PBS Announces Programming Line-Up for 2012 Black History Month Commemoration… : ThyBlackMan

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PBS Announces Programming Line-Up for 2012 Black History Month Commemoration…

January 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Black History, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) PBS announced today an expansive slate of programs profiling the rich history, culture and contributions of African-Americans. The programs air as part of PBS’ celebration of Black History Month, February 2012

Premieres

On Wednesday, January 4, during the PBS/TCA Press Tour, INDEPENDENT LENS will present three new shows. “Daisy Bates: The First Lady of Little Rock, premiering Thursday, February 2, at 10:00 p.m., tells the story of Bates’ life and her public support of nine black students who registered to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas The  film’s  director, Sharon La Cruise, will appear on the PBS/TCA panel. Premiering on  Thursday, February 9, at 10:00 p.m. is a compilation of interviews from  leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars in “Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.”  

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Swedish television journalists came to America to document the burgeoning black power movement. This long-lost trove of film, combined with contemporary interviews to create an irresistible mosaic chronicling the movement’s evolution, features interviews with seminal black power leaders, including Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver, as well as author/activist Angela Davis, who will be a guest on the PBS panel during TCA. 

And in “More Than a Month, premiering on Thursday, February 16, at 10:00 p.m., Shukree Hassan Tilghman, an African-American filmmaker, is on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. Through this tongue-in-cheek and thought-provoking journey, “More Than a Month” investigates what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a “post-racial” America. Tilghman will also be part of the PBS panel during Press Tour.  

 In the compelling story of an unsung hero, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY, airing Monday, February 6 at 10:00 p.m.,explores one man’s mission to help slaves escape to freedom. The program looks at the inner workings of the Underground Railroad through detailed records, diaries and other written accounts of the freedom seekers who made their way across the U.S. border to Canada. 

Also presented during PBS’ session of the TCA Press Tour is SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME, premiering Monday, February 13, at 9:00 p.m. A Sundance Film Festival selection for 2012, this new documentary based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon examines the concept of “neoslavery,” which sentenced African-Americans in the post-Emancipation South to forced labor for violating an array of laws that criminalized their everyday behavior. Award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne narrates the film.  Blackmon and filmmaker Sam Pollard will appear on the SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME panel during TCA.

FRONTLINE “The Interrupters,” premiering Tuesday, February 14, at 9:00 p.m., follows a group of former gang leaders in Chicago who try to “interrupt” shootings and protect their communities from the violence they themselves once committed. From director Steve James (HOOP DREAMS, Stevie), “The Interrupters” is a compelling observational journey into the stubborn, persistent violence that plagues American cities.

Rounding out the Black History Month programming are three shows that highlight the artistic contributions of African-Americans. On Friday, February 24, at 9:00 p.m., turn the radio dial back to the 1950s for the tale of a black singer, a white DJ, forbidden love and the birth of rhythm and blues in GREAT PERFORMANCES “Memphis.” The original Broadway cast members of the 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best New Musical reprise their roles in this roof-raising celebration of music. 

In AN EVENING WITH VALERIE SIMPSON, premiering in February 2012 (check local listings), Gwen Ifill interviews Valerie Simpson, who for more than 40 years wrote hit-making songs with her husband, the late Nick Ashford. As performers, their best-known duets are “Solid” and “Found a Cure.” This is an intimate tribute to their artistry, with performances by Patti Austin, Kindred The Family Soul and Valerie Simpson.

Finally, AMERICAN MASTERS closes out the month with a profile of Cab Calloway, one of the first black musicians to tour the segregationist South and a regular performer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. “Cab Calloway: Sketches” premiering Monday, February 27, at 10:00 p.m., showcases this exceptional figure in the history of jazz, a bandleader and singer who charmed audiences around the world with his boundless energy, bravado and elegant showmanship. Calloway was at the top of his game in the jazz and swing eras of the 30s and 40s with his signature song “Minnie the Moocher,” featuring the popular refrain “Hi de hi de hi de ho,” and his timeless rendition of “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

“Each year, PBS is committed to airing historically informative programming that not only pays tribute to the men and women who sacrificed so much for our nation, but who influenced change in the face of adversity,” said Donald Thoms, Vice President, Programming. “We hope viewers will find PBS’ commemorative programming both enlightening and enjoyable, and we are excited to present some of these selections as part of our TCA Press Tour session.”

In addition to premieres, PBS will air an encore of FREEDOM RIDERS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, February 7, at 8:00 p.m.  FREEDOM RIDERS is acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s powerful and inspirational story of the more than 400 black and white men and women who, using non-violent tactics, risked their lives to challenge segregated travel facilities in the South in 1961.

Other series airing throughout the year that routinely cover topics and profile guests and performers of interest to African-Americans include FRONTLINE,GREAT PERFORMANCESPBS NEWSHOURNEED TO KNOWPOVTAVIS SMILEY and WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL.FINDING YOUR ROOTS, the latest series from renowned cultural critic and Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., premieres Sunday, March 25, at 8:00 p.m.

Thousands of hours of PBS programming are available on the PBS Video Portal. In mid-January, the Video Portal will release a special collection for Black History Month 2012, featuring new and encore programming.

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Comments

3 Responses to “PBS Announces Programming Line-Up for 2012 Black History Month Commemoration…”
  1. Steph says:

    I forgot to add (about the very intesting article above) that we should use the word enslavement instead of slavery!

  2. Steph says:

    Mizell Jones,

    Thanks for mentionning the name of Dr. Russell. I hope that he is wealthy and people did not take advantage of him. We cannot expect the mainstream media to talk about him. This kind of documentary should be done by one of our African-American channels instead of focusing mainly on entertainment!!!

  3. mizell jones says:

    I was hoping that PBS would do a historical documentary on the father of the cell phone , Dr. Jesse Eugene Russell. I celebrate our heroes from the civil rights era but, I think that it is very important to bring an inventor out of obscurity that was attending a historical black university at that time and era,and celebrate and let the world know of his genius.

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