Celebrate Black Excellence With Shows on VPM PBS
Celebrate Black excellence this February — and all year long — with VPM PBS. These important documentaries and programs honor African American achievements, while providing historical context to spark important conversations on race and equity.
THE JAZZ AMBASSADORS
Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 9:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
How do you promote an image of a tolerant American while the country is practicing Jim Crow segregation? That’s what some of the greatest American jazz artists had to figure out, as they traveled the world as cultural ambassadors. Through archival footage, photos and radio clips, see how the Cold War and Civil Rights movement collided in this story of music, diplomacy and race.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Voice of Freedom”
Monday, February 15, 2021, 10:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
After being barred from performing in Constitution Hall due to her race, singer Marian Anderson sang in front of the Lincoln Memorial, in what became a landmark moment in history. Uncover Anderson’s fascinating life and examine questions about race, fame and the American soul.
FINDING YOUR ROOTS “Write My Name in the Book of Life”
Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 8:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
With the help of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons uncover first-person accounts of their enslaved ancestors.
THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG
Tuesday, February 16 & 17, 2021, 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
Journey through the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to uncover its role in African American survival, organizing and resilience.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Goin’ Back to T-Town”
Thursday, February 18, 2021, 8:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
Visit Greenwood, a Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in American history. The community rose again and became known as “Black Wall Street,” until the 1960s as it could not survive integration and urban renewal. Take a look at the life and community spirit of this small town through the people who lived through these events.
DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA
Encore - Friday, February 19, 2021, 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
While the advent of the automobile brought new freedoms for African Americans, it also exposed them to discrimination and violence. Explore these harsh realities that have been a part of the African American experience for hundreds of years, and how this history resonates today.
INDEPENDENT LENS “Mr. SOUL!”
Monday, February 22, 2021, 10:00 p.m. on VPM PBS
America’s first Black variety show, ”Soul,” premiered on public television in 1968, becoming one of the first platforms to promote the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. Explore its impact through the life of the creator and host Ellis Haizlip whose passion for the Black community overflowed into the show and portrayed the Black experience in an unapologetic way.