Celebrate Black History Month with Austin PBS

Posted on Jan 31, 2023

Celebrate Black History Month with new and insightful documentaries and discussions that examine and explore the achievements and historical impact of Black artists, activists, storytellers and visionaries. Tune in to Austin PBS this February to watch these stories.

Tuesday, January 31

8 p.m. Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World

This four-part social history series will explore the history of Black America. A story largely passed over by traditional historians, this incredible narrative of struggle, triumph and resistance will be brought to life through the lens of an art form that has chronicled the emotions, experiences and expression of Black Americans like none other: rap.
The Foundation: Discover the factors that led to the birth of Hip Hop and its first socially conscious hit The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in 1982.

10 p.m. Quincy Jones A Musical Celebration In Paris

Sixty years after Quincy Jones first moved to Paris in his early 20s, he still thinks of the city as a second home. Filmed in front of a capacity crowd at AccorHotels Arena, QUINCY JONES: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION IN PARIS brings together nearly 100 world-class musicians,including a symphony orchestra conducted by Jules Buckley and a line-up of special guests. Songs include "Soul Bossa Nova," "Billie Jean," and "Let the Good Times Roll," among many others

Friday, February 3

7:30 p.m. Blackademics: Blakes/Cooper/Foster

Talks focused on the stigmas, struggles and familiar narratives people of color face today. Bavu Blakes on education and the changes ahead. Angele Cooper on mental health stigmas in the Black community. Dr. Kevin Michael Foster on Blackademics future.

Sunday, February 5

12 p.m. Legacy List with Matt Paxton: A Space for Healing (Birmingham, Al)

The 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, became a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement. Now, years later, Matt is in town to help Lisa and Kimberly, the sisters of one of the little girls who was killed, downsize their longtime home, filled with powerful memories and mementoes from the tragedy.

Making Black America: Through The Grapevine

1 p.m. Building Black America: Hour one explores how free Black people, in the North and South, built towns, established schools, held conventions - creating robust networks to address the political, economic, and social needs of the entire Black community.
2 p.m. The Work of the Imagination: Hour two explores how African Americans turn within, creating a community that not only sustains but empowers. From HBCUs to Black businesses to the Harlem Renaissance to political organizations, Black life flourished

Monday, February 6

8 p.m. Antiques Roadshow: Celebrating Black Americana

Celebrate Black History Month anytime with a special hour that spotlights and celebrates Black Americana, including an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate, a Madam C.J. Walker beauty book, and a visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

9 p.m. Independent Lens: Outta The Muck

A co-production with Black Public Media (BPM), "Outta the Muck" wades into the rich soil of Pahokee, a rural Florida town. Beyond sending over a dozen players to the NFL, Pahokee, a rural town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee, possesses a legacy of resilience and achievement in the face of great storms and personal trauma.

10 p.m. Black College Football Hall of Fame: Journey to Canton

In 2019, the Black College Football Hall of Fame was officially welcomed to the campus of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Along with it came a celebration of the historically Black college and university brand of football. BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: JOURNEY TO CANTON tells the story of the formation of Black college football, the contributions that players from historically Black colleges and universities have made to the NFL, the founding of its Hall of Fame, and why the Hall is in the unexpected location of Canton.

Tuesday, February 7

10 p.m. This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

A poor, Mississippi sharecropper escapes debilitating abuse to become an indomitable force against the political elite and a voice for millions fighting for the right to vote in 1964.

10:30 p.m. Odessa's Reign

Odessa Madre, nicknamed Queen of the Underworld, was a prosperous numbers runner and a key figure in a lucrative gambling ring in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s. Leading the paper chase gave her prestige within the mob, power in her neighborhood, and control over the men charged with enforcing the law - all while being an African American woman in a segregated city.

Wednesday, February 8

8 p.m. Nova - Beyond The Elements: Star Chasers of Senegal

A visionary astronomer in West Africa attempts a high-stakes observation of a distant asteroid vital to a NASA mission. From prehistoric ruins to Islamic skywatchers, explore the heritage and future of African astronomy.

9 p.m. Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin

Follow a team of forensic experts as they investigate the preserved remains of a young African American woman from 19th century New York and reveal the little-known story of early America's free black communities.

Friday, February 10

8 p.m. Ida B. Wells: American Stories

There are few historical figures whose life and work speak to the current moment more than Ida B. Wells, the 19th-century crusading investigative journalist, civil rights leader, and passionate suffragist. In the wake of her recent posthumous Pulitzer Prize citation, Chicago street naming, and the release of a revealing new biography by her great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, the hour-long documentary IDA B. WELLS: AMERICAN STORIES tells her story as never before.

9 p.m. Alpha Kappa Alpha: A Legacy of Service

Narrated by Phylicia Rashad, ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA: A LEGACY OF SERVICE, documents the 115-year history of one of the nation's oldest African American women's organizations. Since its founding at Howard University in 1908, the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha have empowered communities across the globe. Beginning with their Depression era Mississippi Health Project, Alpha Kappa Alpha has facilitated national and international service initiatives for those in need. This legacy of striving for the common good has not always been easy but collectively the sisterhood endures. With over 1,000 chapters and 300,000 members worldwide, the organization is well-positioned for the future.

Sunday, February 12

Making Black America: Through The Grapevine

1 p.m. A Growing Resistance: To survive economic disaster, hour three shows how African Americans relied on informal economies, grassroots organizations and cultural innovations behind the color line to dismantle the oppressive realities of Jim Crow.
2 p.m. Life Beyond The Veil: Despite the gains of legal desegregation, hour four reveals how Black political and cultural movements - from Black Power to Black Twitter - provide a safe space to debate, organize and celebrate.

Tuesday, February 14

8 p.m. Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World - Under Siege

Explore the 1980s and the birth of Hip Hop as social commentary in the Reagan Era with the emergence of artists like Public Enemy, KRS-One, Ice-T, and NWA.

10 p.m. Don Lewis and the Live Electronic Orchestra

Don Lewis, an African American musician/inventor/engineer battles technical barriers and institutional racism in his quest to change the world's musical landscape. His pioneering spirit, technological vision and musical mastery would go on to shape the sounds of Electronic Music.

Friday, February 17

7:30 p.m. Awadagin Pratt: Black In America

You are never too famous to escape racism and racial profiling. Awadagin Pratt is a renowned concert pianist, composer, and violinist.The documentary AWADAGIN PRATT: BLACK IN AMERICA confronts issues of privilege and racism in America and tells a personal account of an all-too-common experience for many people of color in America and worldwide.

Tuesday, February 21

7 p.m. Finding Your Roots: And Still I Rise

Henry Louis Gates reveals the unexpected family trees of activist Angela Y. Davis and statesman Jeh Johnson, using DNA and long-lost records to redefine notions of the black experience-and challenge preconceptions of America's past.

Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World

8 p.m. Culture Wars: Experience the 1990s during the Clinton years and the unstoppable rise in popularity of Hip Hop, which becomes a force that is attacked by all sides of the political establishment.
9 p.m. Still Fighting: Follow the evolution of Hip Hop as its artists turn into multimillionaires and successful entrepreneurs. As a cultural phenomenon, Hip Hop continues to change history and is adopted as the voice of protest around the world.

10 p.m. We Were Hyphy

"Hyphy" was a musical movement that emerged from the streets of Oakland, California in the '90s and encouraged kids to "go dumb" -- to stop thinking, have fun, and dance instead of get violent. WE WERE HYPHY explores this movement through interviews with the charismatic artists behind the music and also looks at the dances, fashions, and culture spawned by their genius. The film traces the movement's influence on a variety of artists, from legendary figures such as Keak da Sneak, Mac Dre, and Mistah FAB to modern-day artists such as Kamaiyah, G-Eazy and Rafael Casal. A love letter to Hyphy, the film also details the highs and lows of the movement and its enduring place in the hip-hop pantheon.

Thursday, February 23

7 p.m. Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan: Mahogany L. Browne

Kelly Corrigan speaks with poet and educator Mahogany L. Browne to learn more about the power of poetry and the importance of listening to younger generations. Mahogany speaks to the various ways in which her work aims to address both personal and broader societal issues of race, sexism, and systemic oppression.

Friday, February 24

8 p.m. Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals

Glimpse behind the curtain at opera legends Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman's famed concert at Carnegie Hall on March 18, 1990, featuring performance clips and new interviews with opera star Angel Blue, Met Opera General Manager Peter Gelb and more.

9:30 p.m. Luther Vandross - Always and Forever: An Evening Of Songs at Royal Albert Hall

Recorded on his 1994-1995 world tour, ALWAYS AND FOREVER: AN EVENING OF SONGS AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL features the legendary Luther Vandross at his most smooth and sensuous, performing his greatest hits and favorite covers. Songs include "Never Too Much," "Stop to Love," "Here and Now," "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," and "Give Me the Reason."

Tuesday, February 28

7 p.m. Finding Your Roots: Activists Roots

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. welcomes Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Anita Hill, two guests who made profound sacrifices for social justice, and helps them discover the ancestors who made sacrifices for them.

8 p.m. Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future

Join an all-star cast performing songs from the hit musicals Dreamgirls, Ain't Misbehavin, The Color Purple, Porgy and Bess and so many more to celebrate the rich history and evolution of Black roles and voices on Broadway. Weaving the history, prominence and hopes for the future through music, the cast is led by Stephanie Mills, Norm Lewis, Corbin Bleu, Niki Renee Daniels, Peppermint, Tiffany Mann and Sydney James Harcourt. Special appearances include Clayton Cornelius, James Monroe Iglehart, Brittany Johnson and many more.

10 p.m. Prince and the Revolution: The Purple Rain Tour

Experience the powerful performance by Prince and The Revolution on their legendary Purple Rain Tour, featuring hits like "Let's Go Crazy," "Little Red Corvette," "When Doves Cry" and a mind-bending 18+ minute version of "Purple Rain."

Thursday, March 2

4:30 p.m. Overheard with Evan Smith: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson talks space with Evan in 2014 in his first Overheard appearance.

Stream with Austin PBS

American Masters: Roberta Flack

Follow the music icon from a piano lounge singer through her rise to stardom. From "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" to "Killing Me Softly," Flack's virtuosity was inseparable from her commitment to civil rights. Detailing her story in her own words, the film features exclusive access to Flack's archives and interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Peabo Bryson and more.

The 87th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

The 87th ANNUAL ANISFIELD-WOLF BOOK AWARDS highlights the 2022 winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and their work. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards is the only national juried prize recognizing literature that has contributed to our understanding of racism and human diversity. The program is hosted by acclaimed scholar, lecturer, social critic, writer, and editor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., chairman of the Anisfield-Wolf Books Awards jury and host of the popular public programming show Finding Your Roots.

Stream with Austin PBS Passport

Lionel Richie: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, a PBS music special, honors singer-songwriter Lionel Richie, as he receives the distinguished honor from the Library of Congress.

Sam Cooke: Legend

Grammy award winning film documenting the rise of soul music legend Sam Cooke, from his beginnings as a gospel singer to his crossover to the pop and R&B charts. This biography takes on a scope of greater dimensions than music alone. Sam's good friend Muhammad Ali plays an integral role, with Malcolm X and the Beatles, to share the world stage with Sam in Miami at the time of the first Ali-Sonny Liston fight. The film includes illuminating interviews with Aretha Franklin, Lloyd Price, Bobby Womack, Lou Rawls, Lou Adler, Dick Clark, and Sam's brothers, sister and daughter, all of whom speak with rare candor and insight about a man whose contributions continue not only to be recognized but to grow long after his death. Songs include "You Send Me", “(What a) Wonderful World", "Having a Party", and "A Change Is Gonna Come" Narrated by Jeffrey Wright.
Made possible in part by Texas Performing Arts