Nashville is fortunate to have three 24-hour channels offering programming through PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service). NPT and NPT2 offer a rich mature slate of programming and digital content to mark Black History Month as part of its continued commitment to showcasing important stories, sourced from the people and communities that make up our nation. Lauding the victories and recognizing cultural contributions and sacrifices, these programs will unearth remarkable stories of African Americans across generations, from the famous to the lesser-known.
Last year, many of these programs were scheduled to run, but were pre-empted by various State government committee meetings and hearings which are carried by NPT and NPT2. Hopefully, they will be aired this year. Check listings on the npt website: https://wnpt.org/schedule
LOCAL PROGRAMMING ON NPT AND NPT2
Locally, there are February programs with local ties, including “Education: The Key to Freedom,”
“Walk Together Children: The 150 Anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers” “First Black Statesmen: Tennessee’s Self-Made Men” (an NPT Citizenship documentary) “The Fight to Vote: Black Voter Suppression in Tennessee” (an NPT Citizenship documentary, nominated for a MidSouth Regional Emmy) “The Past Is Prologue: Cameron Class of 1969” “Education: The Key to Freedom (an NPT Citizenship documentary.
Other notable programming running on NPT and NPT2 during Black History Month include: Independent Lens: “Owned: A Tale of Two Americas”; “In Their Own Words: Chuck Berry”; The Citizenship Project: “The Early Black Press: Tennessee Voices Lifted”; “Facing North: Jefferson Street, Nashville”; “Tina Turner: One Last Time”; “Soul Legends (My Music),” featuring host Pam Grier and classics by The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bill Withers, The Spinners, Isaac Hayes, Minnie Riperton and more; and “Just A Mortal Man – The Jerry Lawson Story” about the founder and original lead singer of The Persuasions; all of these are in High Definition on NPT.
Additional programing in Standard Definition on NPT2 include “Jim Crow of the North”, which explores the origins of housing segregation; American Experience: “Freedom Riders”; Point of View: “Homegoings”, about African American funerals; “America ReFramed. Struggle & Hope”, about all-Black towns in Oklahoma after the Civil War; “Independent Lens: “The First Rainbow Coalition”, about Chicago gang alliances led by the Black Panther Party under Chairman Fred Hampton from 1969-1973; American Experience: Roberto Clemente; “Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song”; Reel South: “Unmarked”, about African-American gravesites and burial grounds for enslaved persons in the South; “Groveland Four”, about a white farm-wife allegedly assaulted by four black men in 1949 in Lake County, Florida; “America ReFramed: “Where The Pavement Ends”, about all-Black Kinloch and the all-white Ferguson, in Missouri; “Why This Moment”, about Richmond, Virginia’s recent marches and peaceful demonstrations; “Freedom Summer” on American Experience; “John Lewis – Get in the Way”; “Justice In Chester”, about environmental justice in Pennsylvania; Reel South: “Rap Squad”; “When The Waters Get Deep”, about artists’ work to heal communities torn apart by gun violence, policing and mass incarceration; Local, USA: “Heaven Can You Hear Me?”, about Philadelphia gun violence, the leading cause of death for young Black men, its impact on families and the trauma and resilience of survivors; “Black Ballerina”; “We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told”, the unrecognized history of jazz in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn and Mary Lou Williams-all Pittsburghers; POV: “We Are The Radical Monarchs”, a group of young girls of color on the frontlines of social justice;
“Fat Boy: The Billy Stewart Story”, about the rhythm and blues singer; “City of Ali”, a new feature-length documentary detailing how Muhammad Ali’s death brought the people of his Kentucky hometown Louisville – and the world – together for one unforgettable week; AfroPop: “Professional Black Girl”; “Finding Fellowship”, which follows three racially-segregated churches in Quince Orchard, Maryland; “Stone of Hope: Moving The Dream Forward” documents the first decade of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C.; “Gullah Roots” follows the South Carolina and Georgia Gullah/Geechee communities as they experience a homecoming to Sierra Leone in December 2019; America ReFramed: “The Falconer”, about Rodney Stotts, one of only a handful of African American falconers in the country; POV Shorts: “The Changing Same”, commemorating the lynching of Claude Neal in Marianna, Florida; American Experience: “Goin’ Back to T-Town”, revisiting Greenwood, a Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma; “Invisible History: Middle Florida’s Hidden Roots”; Reel South: “Flat Town”, in rural Louisiana, an annual high school football game unites a historically segregated town; “Start Up: Genesis Block- Wilmington, NC”; Independent Lens: “Ferguson Rises”; “Story in the Public Square”; “Second Opinion with Joan Lunden: “Racial Disparities In Maternal Health”; “Queen of Swing”, 95-year-old entertainer Norma Miller; “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street”, once a vibrant, African-American business and entertainment district; “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”; Independent Lens: “Down A Dark Stairwell”, a Chinese American cop shoots and kills an innocent Black man in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project; AfroPop: “Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba!”; “Korla”, the amazing story of John Roland Redd, an African American from Columbia, Missouri who migrated to Hollywood in 1939 and reinvented himself as a musician from India; Stories from the Stage: “Growing Up Black”; Secrets of the Dead: “The Woman in the Iron Coffin”, a young African American woman from 19th century New York; “Irma: My Life In Music” about Irma Thomas, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”; “Beyond The Baton: A Conductor’s Journey”, about Thomas Wilkins, one of the few African American conductors leading a major orchestra; Reel South: “All Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk”, about the 2017 runoff for mayor of New Orleans’ two candidates: Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell, two very different black women; “The Long Shadow”, traces the imposition of white privilege and its ultimate manifestation: slavery; Reel South: “Muni”, Black golfers built a vibrant culture and lasting community on a municipal golf course in Asheville, NC; Independent Lens: “Coded Bias”, MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers most facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces or women with accuracy; American Experience: “The Blinding of Isaac Woodard”, the 1946 incident of racial violence by police that led to the racial awakening of President Harry Truman; Also, “Eyes on the Prize” 1 and 2.