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Black History Month Programming on WETA PBS

WETA Celebrates Black History Month

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


The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

Dr. Henry Louis Gates

Tuesday, February 16 at 9:00pm 

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of African American religion beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the extraordinary ways enslaved Africans preserved and adapted their faith practices from the brutality of slavery to emancipation. Repeats Sat 2/20, 8pm; Sat 2/27, 8pm; Sun 2/28, 3pm. Pt 2 airs Wed 2/16, 9pm; Sat 2/27, 8pm

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Kumera Zekarias - WETA Arts: February 2021

Saturday february 13 at 7:30pm

WETA Arts celebrates Black History Month, featuring an award-winning fiction film about neighborhood change in DC, a documentary about the history of segregation in Alexandria, a first-generation Ethiopian American musician fuses the music of his heritage with that of the African diaspora, and a Black actor who is on the front lines of representation, equity, inclusion in DC’s theatre scene.

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans

weekdays, February 1-8 at 3pm

A six-hour series presented and written by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. chronicles the full sweep of African-American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent up to the present.

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Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain

 Vernon Jordan (Credit: Ralph Barrera)

Sunday, February 7 at 4pm

Filmmaker Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble) explores the life of Vernon Jordan, an influential champion of social justice who ascended from a childhood spent in the country's first African American housing project to prominent positions of power and influence.

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Africa’s Great Civilizations

Africa’s Great Civilizations

weekdays, February 9-16 at 3pm 

This six-hour documentary series in two parts is hosted, executive produced, and written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who chronicles the continent’s history from a firmly African perspective. From Zimbabwe to Sudan to Ethiopia to Mali, Gates presents a new and comprehensive narrative about Africa and the history of the extraordinary and diverse peoples who have lived there.

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The Jazz Ambassadors

The Jazz Ambassadors - Louis Armstrong

TUESDAY February 2 at 9pm

See why great American jazz artists Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington faced a painful dilemma when asked to travel the world as cultural ambassadors. Leslie Odom, Jr. narrates a Cold War story of music, diplomacy and civil rights. Repeats Sat 2/6, 11:30pm

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American Masters: Charley Pride: I'm Just Me

Charley Pride

Saturday, February 6 at 7:00 pm

Explore the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride. Raised in segregated Mississippi, his journey shows the ways that artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice. Repeats 12:30am; Sun 2/7, 11pm; Thur 2/11, 9:30pm 

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The Chavis Chronicles

The Chavis Chronicles

Sundays at 5pm

The Chavis Chronicles is a thought-provoking half-hour weekly talk show with an urban American flair featuring interviews with famous leaders and politicians, doctors and scientists, cultural leaders and influencers from around the globe. The public affairs program goes beyond the headlines offering insights on matters that impact the public, and provides a unique perspective from a renowned living legend of the African-American world. Also airs Thursdays, 10am; Saturdays, 11am

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A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

Sundays at 5:30pm; Mondays at 10 a.m.

A Seat at the Table is a public affairs series produced in Georgia that explores contemporary issues and challenges facing Black women in their everyday lives.

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AfroPop - Logo

Fridays at 10am

Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is a series of short films that celebrates the cultural and historical growth that has occurred in Africa over the past generation. The films' purpose is to fuel a global conversation on the present-day realities and contemporary lifestyles of Africans, both living on the continent and those living elsewhere. The films cover the subjects of life, art and culture in areas with large African populations, including the Caribbean, Canada, South America and the United States. Also airs Saturdays, 12n 

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Freedom Riders: American Experience

Freedom Riders

SATURDAY, February 6 at 9:30pm

From May until November 1961, over 400 Americans, black and white, travelled together on buses and trains through the Deep South. This documentary tells the harrowing story of those Riders as they risked their lives, facing savage mob violence and imprisonment, to challenge segregation through a simple act of unity. Repeats Wed 2/24, 3pm

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American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town

American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town

Monday, February 8 at 9pm 

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.” 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.

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The Murder of Emmett Till

The Murder of Emmett Till

SATURDAY, February 13 at 10pm

Emmett Till's murder and the acquittal of his killers mobilized the Civil Rights Movement. Repeats Thur 2/18, 10pm

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American Experience: Voice of Freedom

American Experience: Voice of Freedom - Marian Anderson

Monday, February 15 at 10pm 

Hailed as a voice that “comes around once in a hundred years” by maestros in Europe and widely celebrated by both white and Black audiences at home, Marian Anderson's fame hadn’t been enough to spare her from the indignities and outright violence of racism and segregation. Voice of Freedom tells her rich life story, exploring fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy, and the American soul. Repeats Sat 2/20, 10pm

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Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer volunteers registering locals. (Courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC)

Friday, February 26 at 9pm

During the summer of 1964, the nation's eyes were riveted on Mississippi. Over 10 memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the nation's most segregated state.

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Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize

Credit: Courtesy of Jati Lindsay  Photo Caption: Dave Chappelle

Friday, February 12 at 10pm

In this lively WETA co-production taped in October, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to comedian Dave Chappelle. Repeats Sat 2/20, 10pm

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

Independent Lens: HBCUs

Saturday, February 13 at 11pm

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

Independent Lens: Cooked: Survival by Zip Code

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code

Sunday, February 14 at 11pm

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.

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Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!

Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!

Monday, February 22 at 10pm

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. Repeats Fri 2/26, 3pm, 9pm; Sat 2/27, 10pm

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Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America


Friday, February 19 at 9pm

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.

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Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP

Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP

SATURDAY, February 20 at 7pm 

Rare archival film and interviews chart Justice Thurgood Marshall's life prior to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. Repeats 12m; Sun 2/21, 11pm; Thur 2/25 4pm; Thur 2/25, 10pm; Sun 2/28, 12n

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Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Monday, February 22 at 3:00 pm

Join Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for an exploration of the transformative years following the Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction and revolutionary social change.

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