Radio & TV Programs in Honor of Black History Month


In celebration of Black History Month, West Virginia Public Broadcasting presents a wide selection of television and radio program premieres and encores.  (A complete list of our 2014 Black History Month programs is made available here.

On West Virginia PBS:

American Masters–Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth  Friday, February 7 at 9 p.m.  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, she came of age 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.

Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi Monday, February 10 at 10 p.m. View the story of a secretspy agency formed during the 1950s and 60s by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy. Over a decade, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including Afican Americans, to help infiltrate the NAACP, CORE and SNCC. The program tracks the commission’s hidden role in important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the trial of Medgar Evers and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.

On WV PBS.2:

Ghosts of Green Bottom  Tuesday, February 4 at 9 p.m.  In 1825, William Jenkins crossed the rugged Appalachians to establish a southern-style plantation on the wilderness fringe of western Virginia. At its peak in the mid-1800s, the sprawling estate employed around eighty slaves working 1700 acres of rich Ohio River bottomland. Being loyal Virginians, the family cast its lot with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Their actions would trigger a series of fateful events that ended the plantation lifestyle and nearly destroyed the family’s once-proud legacy. Narrated by Ann Magnuson.

Journeys In Africa “Mombassa: The Center of It All”  Wednesday, February 5 at 8:30 p.m. Gold, ivory and slaves drove the economy of the East Coast of Africa 500 years ago. Join us as we explore the Portuguese and Arab roles in these horrific trade schemes. We’ll also investigate the pristine  waters off the coast of the nearby National Park. Here Bill dons a snorkel mask and comes face to face with the creatures of the coral reef.

Whispers of Angels: A Story of the Underground Railroad  Wednesday, February 5 at 10 p.m. This documentary that recounts the story of the critical Eastern Line of The Underground Railroad and its role in the 19th century anti-slavery movement in America. Actors Ed Asner and Blair Underwood portray white Quaker abolitionist Thomas Garret and free, black anti-slavery activist William Still in dramatic re-enactments filmed on location in the historical settings where these freedom fighters undertook their noble and dangerous work. Interviews with a cadre of top scholars explore the themes of courage and racial cooperation in the years leading up to the Civil War.

(More available in our Black History Programs download)

On WV Public Radio:

Civil Rights in America  Thursday, February 6 at 9 p.m. Hosted by Charles Dutton, this one-hour special examines the relevance and meaning of civil rights in the 21st century and the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of women, other people of color, and the LGBT community to expand our traditional definitions of equality.  It features first-person narratives culled from hundreds of hours of never-before-broadcast video and audio footage to provide a rich, detailed history of the nation during an important and tumultuous period.

Afropop Mandela Special Thursday, February 20 at 9 p.m. The extraordinary wisdom and forgiveness of Nelson Mandela as he led South Africa to a non-racial, democratic society is a deep inspiration that will long outlive him. Along the way, South African musicians offered vivid reflections of the emotions of the moment. On this special program, “Afropop” hears conversations with some of the veterans of SA music including Ray Phiri, Lucky Dube, Dorothy Masuka and others.