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Black History Month Programming on WETA Television

WETA Celebrates Black History Month

This February, WETA Television recognizes Black History Month with special programming that highlights the African-American experience.


All programs air on both WETA TV 26 and WETA HD. 

B.B. King: American Masters

B.B. King: American Masters

Sunday, February 2 at midnight

The biography ­series explores the musical artist’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. Repeats Tue 2/12, 1pm; Fri 2/15, 2pm 

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Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise – Out of the Shadows/Move on Up

Black America Since MLK Part 1

Sunday, February 2 at 12:00 pm

In part one of this four-hour program, Harvard scholar and WETA partner Henry Louis Gates, Jr., looks at the last five decades of African American history since the major civil rights victories of the 1960s. His premise is this: If Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came back and asked what happened in the last half-century since his passing, what would you tell him? 

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Fats Domino: American Masters

Fats Domino

Sunday, February 9 at midnight

The biography series explores how the musical artist’s brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues became rock ’n’ roll. As popular as Elvis Presley, Domino suffered degradations in the pre-civil rights South and aided integration through his music. Repeats Thur 2/14, 3pm

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John Lewis: Get in the Way

John Lewis: Get in the Way

Sunday, February 9 at 2:00 pm

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 77, he is considered the conscience of Congress.

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Independent Lens: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

Independent Lens: HBCUs

Sunday, February 16 at midnight 

A film explores the pivotal role that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played in shaping American history, culture and national identity.

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American Masters: Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me

American Masters: Sammy Davis Jr.

Sunday, February 16 at 12:00 pm

Explore the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress in 20th-century America. Interviewees include Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg and featured are clips from Davis’ television, film and concert performances.

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Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise: American Masters

American Masters - Maya Angelou

Sunday, February 23 at 12:00 pm

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. Repeats Thur 2/14, 1pm; Sun 2/24, 2:30pm

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Smokey Robinson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Smokey Robinson Gershwin Prize

Monday, February 24 at Midnight

In the WETA co-production, Samuel L. Jackson hosts a star-studded musical tribute to singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson as the artist receives the Library’s 2016 Gershwin Prize. Taped at DAR Constitution Hall, the concert features Robinson and an array of renowned musical artists in performance, with a special appearance by Berry Gordy, founder of Motown.

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Independent Lens: Black Memorabilia

Independent Lens: Black Memorabilia

Monday, February 24 at 9:00 pm

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.

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