Explore Black History with Public Television

Explore Black History with Public Television

Black History Month is here and we are excited to share a host of documentaries and programming that highlights the Black experience in American history. Here are the specials we are airing or premiering this month as well as programs you can watch online…

New Shows

American Experience: Voice of Freedom 
Monday, February 15, at 9pm on CET & ThinkTV16
Wednesday, February 17, at 8pm on CET Arts 

Explore the fascinating life of celebrated singer Marian Anderson. In 1939, after being barred from performing at Constitution Hall because she was Black, she triumphed at the Lincoln Memorial in what became a landmark moment in American history. Watch the extended trailer below. 

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
Part One: 
Tuesday, February 16, at 9pm on CET & ThinkTV16
Sunday, February 21, at 3pm on CET & and 3:30pm on ThinkTV16
Part Two: 
Wednesday, February 17, at 9pm on CET & ThinkTV16
Sunday, February 28, at 3pm on CET & ThinkTV16 
Tracing the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, The Black Church reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage. Watch the extended trailer below. 

Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL! 
Monday, February 22, at 10pm on CET 
Wednesday, February 24, at 8pm on CET Arts 
Thursday, February 25, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
Friday, February 26, at 9pm on ThinkTV14
Celebrate SOUL!, the public television variety show that shared Black culture with the nation. Ellis Haizlip developed SOUL! in 1968 as one of the first platforms to promote the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. Its impact continues to this day. Watch the trailer below. 


Central Park Five 
Saturday, February 6, at 9pm on ThinkTV16
Sunday, February 7, at 3pm on CET
The Central Park Five, from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles the Central Park jogger case from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice. Watch now with CET Passport: https://watch.cetconnect.org/video/central-park-five-central-park-five/.  

Goin’ Back To T-Town
Monday, February 8, 9pm on CET & ThinkTV16
Goin’ Back to T-Town tells the story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that prospered during the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation. Torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history, the neighborhood rose from the ashes, and by 1936 boasted the largest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S., known as “Black Wall Street.” Ironically, it could not survive the progressive policies of integration and urban renewal of the 1960s. Told through the memories of those who lived through the events, the film is a bittersweet celebration of small-town life and the resilience of a community’s spirit. Watch the trailer below. 

Independent Lens: Cooked: Survival by Zip Code 
Sunday, February 14, at 4pm on CET
Learn the story of a heatwave that overtook Chicago in July 1995, killing 739 residents, most of them poor, elderly and African American. The heatwave revealed a long-term crisis of poverty, racism, and economic and social isolation in the city.

African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross
Sundays, February 7 through February 21, at 2pm on ThinkTV16
Chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Streaming Opportunities

NOVA: Forgotten Genius

NOVA presents the remarkable life story of Percy Julian–-one of the most accomplished African-American scientists of the 20th century, and an industrialist, self-made millionaire, humanitarian and civil-rights pioneer.

American Experience: Freedom Riders 

Find inspiration in the story of a courageous band of young civil-rights activists who journeyed through the Deep South in 1961.

American Masters: Maya Angelou – And Still I Rise 

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.

Independent Lens: The First Rainbow Coalition 

In 1969, Chicago community-based groups formed alliances across lines of race and ethnicity to confront issues like police brutality and substandard housing. Hear the movement’s little-known story through archival footage and interviews with members. 

American Masters: Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart 

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.

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America

Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today.

A Century Of Change: Negro League Centennial Celebration 

On February 13 and 14, 1920, talks were held in Kansas City, Missouri that established the Negro National League; 100 Years later we are here to preserve the memory and legacy of what was not only an economic staple for the black community but a pride that stood alongside historical highlights such as 18th and Vine.

Fannie Lou Hammer: Stand Up 

Civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer is remembered by those how worked side by side with her in the struggle for voting rights. An African-American sharecropper from the Mississippi Delta, Hamer’s difficulty registering to vote in 1962 led to her career as an outspoken activist, congressional candidate, and fierce fighter for the rights of all.