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Black History Month

Year-round, NMPBS presents a cross-section of stories exploring the lives, culture and history of African Americans. In celebration of Black History Month, NMPBS highlights new programs, series and special encores below.

On February 17th, NMPBS presents a FREE, online advance screening of the new program INDEPENDENT LENS “Mr. Soul!”  All are welcome to attend and enjoy.

THE BLACK CHURCH: This is Our Story, This is Our Song

Wednesday/Thursday, February 16 & 17 at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Retrace the 400-year-old-story of the Black church in America with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., exploring its role as the site of African American organizing, resilience, autonomy, freedom and solidarity.

This special broadcast is presented back-to-back, over two days.


The Long Song on MASTERPIECE

Episode 1: Sunday, Jan. 31 at 9 p.m.

Episode 2: Sunday, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m.

Episode 3: Sunday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m.

In early 1800s Jamaica, Caroline adopts the child slave July as her maid. July grows up to witness the Christmas Rebellion and the radical transformation of her world.


Africa's Great Civilizations

February 1-8 on Ch. 9.1

Journey with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Kenya, Egypt and beyond as he discovers the origins of man, the formation of early human societies and the creation of significant cultural and scientific achievements on the African continent.

John Lewis: Get in the Way

Monday, February 1 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 9.1
Tuesday, February 2 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 9.1
Tuesday, February 9 at 2 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

Follow the journey of civil rights hero, congressman and human rights champion John Lewis. At the Selma March, Lewis came face-to-face with club-wielding troopers and exemplified non-violence. Lewis was considered the conscience of Congress.

The Jazz Ambassadors

Tuesday, February 2 at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Saturday, February 6 at 12 p.m. on Ch. 9.1
Sunday, March 28 at 11 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

The Cold War and Civil Rights movement collided in this remarkable story of music, diplomacy and race. America asked Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman to travel as cultural ambassadors and combat racially charged Soviet propaganda through their music. But America's jazz greats faced a dilemma: representing a country that still practiced Jim Crow segregation.

The Central Park Five

Sunday, February 7 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 9.1
Sunday, February 21 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

This film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles the Central Park jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of the five young men whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.

American Experience: Goin' Back to T-Town (100th Anniversary)

Monday, February 8 at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Monday, February 15 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

Revisit Greenwood, a Black community in Tulsa. Torn apart in 1921 by a racially- motivated massacre, the neighborhood rose again, but could not survive integration and urban renewal. A bittersweet portrait of small-town life told by those who lived it.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2020

Monday, February 8 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

This program, hosted by Dr. Henry Louis ("Skip") Gates, Jr., chronicles the only juried American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. The program serves to amplify diverse voices and foster dialogue about inclusivity that transcends the digital divide. During the current movement for racial equality, the necessity and relevance of these writings is as great as ever.


Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Explore the fascinating life of celebrated singer Marian Anderson. On Easter Sun., 1939, Anderson, hailed as a voice that “comes around once in a hundred years” by maestros in Europe, triumphed at the Lincoln Memorial in what became a landmark moment in American history. After being barred from performing at Constitution Hall because she was Black, she would sing for the American people in the open air.



Monday, February 15 on Ch. 9.1

7 p.m. “The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)”
8 p.m. “The Age of Slavery (1800-1860)”
9 p.m. “Into The Fire (1861-1896)”

Monday, February 22 on Ch. 9.1

7 p.m. “Making A Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)
8 p.m. “Rise! (1940-1968)”
9 p.m. “A More Perfect Union (1968-2013)” 

This 6-hour series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable historic events up to the present. Presented and written by Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: Write My Name in the Book of Life

Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Sunday, February 21 at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons uncover extraordinarily rare first-person accounts of their enslaved ancestors.


Marching Forward

Tuesday, February 16 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Monday, February 22 at 10 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

Share the story of two high school band directors - one black, one white - whose love of music and dedication to their students inspired an atypical collaboration in the segregated south. Their friendship and professional cooperation resulted in the experience of a lifetime for two Orlando-area bands at the 1964 New York World's Fair.


NMPBS FREE Online Screening - Feb. 17
Premieres Monday, February 22 at 9 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Celebrate SOUL!, the public television variety show that shared Black culture with the nation. Ellis Haizlip developed SOUL! in 1968 as one of the first platforms to promote the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement.  Its impact continues to this day.


DRIVING WHILE BLACK: Race, Space, and Mobility in America

Friday, February 19 at 9 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new freedoms and new perils for African Americans on the road in this deep look into the dynamics of race, space and mobility in America over time.

NOVA: Forgotten Genius

Wednesday, January 27 at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

NOVA presents the remarkable life story of Percy Julian — not only one of the great African-American scientists of the 20th century, but an industrialist, self-made millionaire, humanitarian and civil rights pioneer.