PBS TO OFFER SPECIAL PROGRAMMING FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February 1 – February 28, 2006
Alexandria, VA - January 25, 2006 - From history to culture to drama to independent film, PBS features year-round programming both created by and about African Americans. In honor of Black History Month, PBS will broadcast a variety of new and encore presentations that celebrate the rich history of African Americans. The centerpiece for this month of special programs is a four-hour series by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which uses genealogy and DNA science to trace the roots of a group of African-American citizens back through American history to Africa.
Other program topics include a look at the little-known founders of the Black Panthers movement, and an examination of a three-night riot that took place in July 1964 in Rochester, New York, which tore the city apart and from which it has never recovered. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN, the nine-time Emmy Award-winning television movie starring Cicely Tyson (with a new introduction from Queen Latifah), will also be shown. With a breadth and depth that can't be found anywhere else on television, these compelling programs examine the cultural contributions and distinguished heritage of African Americans.
AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (New) Wednesdays, February 1- 8, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET Renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., W.E.B. DuBois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level. Using genealogy and DNA science, Dr. Gates tells the personal stories of eight accomplished African Americans - a neurosurgeon, a TV pioneer/philanthropist, an astronaut, a music entrepreneur, a sociologist, a movie star, a minister and a comedian - tracing their roots through American history and back to Africa.
INDEPENDENT LENS "Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power" (New) Tuesday, February 7, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) Credited with inspiring the Black Power movement, Robert Williams led his North Carolina hometown to defend itself against the Ku Klux Klan and challenge repressive Jim Crow laws. "Negroes With Guns" follows Williams' journey from southern community leader to exile in Cuba and China, a journey that brought the issue of armed self-defense to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.
INDEPENDENT LENS "July '64" (New) Tuesday, February 14, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) In the summer of 1964, a three-night riot erupted in two predominantly black neighborhoods in downtown Rochester, New York, the culmination of decades of poverty, joblessness and racial discrimination - and a significant event in the Civil Rights era. Using archival footage and interviews with those who were present, "July '64" explores the genesis and outcome of these three devastating nights.
FANNIE LOU HAMER: COURAGE AND FAITH (New) February 2006 (check local listings) Using archival footage and interviews with those who knew her well and were affected by her actions, this program chronicles the extraordinary life of Fannie Lou Hamer and introduces her to a new, younger generation. Mrs. Hamer attended the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party and challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation. Many credit her presence at the convention as the impetus for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Interviews include Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women; Rutgers University history professor Clement Price; and numerous members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, narrates.
SHARED HISTORY (New) February 2006 (check local listings) SHARED HISTORY is the intimate story of the relationship between two families whose connection was forged in slavery and has endured to the present. The filmmaker, the great-great-granddaughter of a slave owner, and Rhonda Kearse, a descendant of one of the enslaved families, seek to understand and reconcile the reality of slavery with the shared lives and affections between the families.
AMERICA BEYOND THE COLOR LINE WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. (Encore) February 2006 (check local listing) Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard's chair of African-American Studies, travels the length and breadth of the United States to take the temperature of black America at the start of the new century. In four programs, Gates travels to four different parts of America - the East Coast, the deep South, inner-city Chicago and Hollywood. He explores this rich and diverse landscape, social as well as geographic, and meets the people who are defining black America, from the most famous and influential to those at the grassroots.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) PBS presents a rebroadcast of this groundbreaking nine-time Emmy Award-winning television movie from the 1970s. Based on the best-selling novel by Ernest J. Gaines, the fictionalized historical drama from director John Korty follows 110-year-old Jane Pittman, played by Cicely Tyson, on her incredible life journey from the end of the Civil War in the 1860s through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Through the years, Miss Jane survives the last vestiges of slavery in Louisiana, Jim Crow laws, encounters with the KKK and the slaying of her husband, only to triumph in the end over social injustice. The broadcast includes an introductory segment hosted by Queen Latifah.
THE BLACK PRESS: SOLDIERS WITHOUT SWORDS (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) This special is the first documentary to provide an in-depth examination of the history and contributions of African-American newspapers. Since the early 1800s, black newspapers have existed in almost every major city in the United States. THE BLACK PRESS: SOLDIERS WITHOUT SWORDS gives life to this fascinating, little-known history by weaving interviews with editors, photographers and journalists of the black press with archival footage, photographs and the music of Grammy Award-winning jazz artist Ron Carter. Stage, screen and television actor Joe Morton narrates the film.
BRIARS IN THE COTTON PATCH: THE STORY OF KOINONIA FARM (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) This program explores the unknown story of Koinonia Farm, which may have been the most daring social experiment in the South during the last century. Blacks and whites lived together on the Georgia farm, broke bread at the same table and were paid the same wages. The commune, started in 1942, became the target of white anger - with bombs, boycotts and shootings. Out of this violent history grew the worldwide movement of Habitat for Humanity International. Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young hosts.
INDEPENDENT LENS "A Place of Our Own" (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) Stanley Nelson is a third-generation upper middle-class African American who spent the past 40 summers in Oak Bluffs, an affluent African-American resort community on Martha's Vineyard. Building on personal stories of summers past, "A Place of Our Own" explores the world of black doctors, lawyers and journalists who created social clubs, professional organizations and a refuge for African Americans.
P.O.V. "Chisholm '72 - Unbought & Unbossed" (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) This documentary recaptures the times and spirit of a watershed event in American politics, when Shirley Chisholm, an African-American woman, dared to take an equal place on the presidential dais. The New York Democratic congresswoman's bid engendered strong and sometimes bigoted opposition, setting off currents that affect American politics and social perceptions to this day.
SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) This groundbreaking series chronicles the institution of American slavery from its origins in 1619 - when English settlers in Virginia purchased 20 Africans from Dutch traders - through the arrival of the first 11 slaves in the northern colonies (in Dutch New Amsterdam), the American Revolution, the Civil War, the adoption of the 13th Amendment and Reconstruction. With such unprecedented breadth come entirely new perspectives on and facts about slavery. These new perspectives challenge many long-held notions (such as the idea that slavery was strictly a southern institution; it was, in fact, a national institution) and highlight the contradictions of a country that was founded on the principle of "liberty and justice for all" but embraced slavery. Morgan Freeman narrates.
THIS FAR BY FAITH: AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS (Encore) February 2006 (check local listings) In six hours of powerful storytelling, THIS FAR BY FAITH examines the African-American religious experience through the last three centuries. From the arrival of the early African slaves through the Civil War, reconstruction, Jim Crow, the great depression, the civil rights era and into the 21st century, the series explores the connections between faith and the development of African-American cultural values. Lorraine Toussaint ("Any Day Now," "Crossing Jordan") narrates.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online pbskids.org continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
CONTACT: Cara White, 843/881-1480; firstname.lastname@example.org
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