Monday, January 26, 2015 - 26°F

Black History Month 2014

Black History Month on WTTW

February 2014

WTTW broadcasts programming created by and about African Americans year-round, from public affairs to history to independent film to kids programming. In celebration of this year’s Black History Month, WTTW will showcase an expansive lineup of programs profiling the rich history, culture and contributions of African Americans. From the abolition of slavery to the rise of the black power movement, these programs take a profound look into a variety of historical events and individuals.

Black History Month Programming on WTTW11

POV: American Promise POV American Promise
Monday, February 3 at 9:00 pm

This film spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y.., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys' divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan's Dalton School, this documentary presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

Independent Lens: The Powerbroker – Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights Independent Lens: The Powerbroker – Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights
Thursday, February 6 at 10:00 pm

Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated — and controversial — leaders of the civil rights era. Follow his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, Young took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. He had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.

DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis (in 4 parts)
Fridays: February 7, 14, 21, 28 at 7:30 pm

WTTW’s original documentary celebrates the remarkable history of African-Americans in Chicago. From the arrival of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable to make his home in what would later become our city, to the groundbreaking election of Chicago’s first black mayor Harold Washington, to Chicagoan Barack Obama’s triumphant ascent to the Presidency in 2008, this film tells the inspiring stories of the eminent and the unsung – the everyday African-Americans who have helped to mold the city through politics, culture, and business. Visit the DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis website.

American Masters Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth American Masters Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Friday, February 7 at 9:00 pm

Most famous for her seminal novel 'The Color Purple,' writer / activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, her life unfolded during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the Civil Rights Movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire, and Walker herself.

The Education of Harvey Gantt The Education of Harvey Gantt
Sunday, February 9 at 2:30 pm
Friday, February 21 at 10:30 pm

In 1960, a talented African-American student from Charleston, Harvey Gantt, graduated from high school and decided to become an architect. Clemson College was the only school in South Carolina that offered a degree in his chosen field. In January of 1963, with the help of NAACP lawyer Matthew J. Perry, Gantt won a lawsuit against Clemson and was peacefully admitted to the college, making him the first African-American student to attend a formerly all-white school in South Carolina. The program is narrated by Tony Award-winning actress and singer Phylicia Rashād and features historic civil rights photographs by Cecil Williams.

Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi Independent Lens Spies of Mississippi
Monday, February 10 at 10:00 pm

This film tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation during the 1950s and '60s. Granted broad powers, this commission investigated citizens and organizations in attempts to derail the civil rights movement.

Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (in 2 parts)
Thursday, February 13 at 8:00 pm & Thursday, February 20 at 8:00 pm

Follows Jack Johnson's remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Galveston, Texas, as the son of former slaves, to his entry into the brutal world of professional boxing, where, in turn-of-the-century Jim Crow America, the heavyweight champion was an exclusively 'white' title. Johnson lived his life out loud, wearing fancy clothes, driving fast cars and openly flaunting the conventions of the time by dating and then marrying white women. Despite the odds, Johnson was able to batter his way up through the professional ranks, and in 1908 he became the first African American to earn the title Heavyweight Champion of the World.

An Evening with Ursula Burns An Evening with Ursula Burns
Thursday, February 13 at 10:00 pm

An Evening With Ursula Burns, provides a rare inside look into the life and career of the amazing business icon Ursula Burns, the first African American woman to head a Fortune 500 company. This engaging and informative interview provides important background on Burns' meteoric rise through the ranks of corporate America as she talks candidly about her poor upbringing on Manhattan's Lower East Side, her mother's, Olga's, heroic efforts to raise three children as a single mother, her start at Xerox as a young engineering intern and how intellect, mentorship by others, hard work and business savvy led to her unprecedented success.

Independent Lens: More than a Month Independent Lens: More than a Month
Thursday, February 20 at 10:00 pm

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, investigate what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a “post-racial” America.

Freedom Riders: American Experience Freedom Riders: American Experience
Thursday, February 27 at 8:00 pm

From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism. This is the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of six months that changed America forever.

Black History Month Programming on WTTW Prime

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross marathon
Saturday, February 1 from 5:00 am to 5:00 am
Sunday, February 16 from 10:00 am to 4:00 am

Extraordinary Women Josephine Baker
Saturday, February 15 at 10:00 pm

Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (in 2 parts)
Saturday, February 22 at 8:00pm and Saturday, March 1 at 8:00 pm

The Black Kung Fu Experience
Saturday, February 22 at 11:00 pm

Thanks To Our Sponsors