These are some of the programs we are broadcasting and streaming to commemorate important people and events in Black history.
The Black Artists’ Group of St. Louis: Creation Equals Movement
Tuesday, February 2, 8 pm
The Black Artists’ Group formed in the late 1960s as an arts collective, devoted to raising Black consciousness, battling social injustice, and performance art. Although its life was brief, several members have gone on to impressive careers as experimental jazz players. Locally, the group’s spirit lives on in the musicians who cut their chops learning to play in BAG’s community arts classes.
American Experience: Voice of Freedom
Monday, February 15, 9 pm
On Easter Sunday 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Inscribed on the walls of the monument behind her were the words “all men are created equal.” Barred from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race, Anderson would sing for the American people in the open air. The film interweaves Anderson’s rich life story with this landmark moment in history.
The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
Tuesday, February 16, 8 pm & Wednesday, February 17, 8 pm
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes viewers on a journey through the rich and complex history of the Black Church to reveal how this uniquely American institution has influenced nearly every chapter of the Black American story. Explore the Church’s profound impact on the evolution of American culture and history, and how it continues to animate black identity today.
Kindred Spirits: Artists Hilda Wilkinson Brown and Lilian Thomas Burwell
Sunday, February 21, 11:30 pm
This documentary explores the unique relationship between an African American aunt and niece who became accomplished artists and educators despite the hardships of the Great Depression and the inequities of racial segregation.
Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!
Monday, February 22, 10 pm
In 1968, America’s first Black variety show, SOUL!, hosted by Ellis Haizlip, premiered on public television. The pioneering series ran for six years, celebrated Black artistry, community, and culture, but was also a platform for political expression. Mr. SOUL! includes participants’ recollections and archival footage, highlighting a turning point in representation whose impact continues to resonate to this day.
This feature first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Nine PBS Magazine.