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Black History Month Programming on WETA Television

WETA Celebrates Black History Month

This February, WETA Television recognizes Black History Month with special programming that highlights the African-American experience.


All programs air on both WETA TV 26 and WETA HD. 

Great Performances: Nas Live from the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop

Great Performances: Nas

Friday, February 2 at 9:00 pm

Groundbreaking hip-hop artist Nas performs a symphonic rendition of his seminal debut album Illmatic with the National Symphony Orchestra. Nas paints a densely textured lyrical portrait of life in a New York City public housing project. Repeats Sun 2/4, 2:30pm; Sat 2/10, 11pm

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Independent Lens: I Am Not Your Negro

Independent Lens: I Am Not Your Negro

Friday, February 2 at 10:00 pm

An Academy Award-nominated documentary by Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a revolutionary and personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Fats Domino: American Masters

Fats Domino

Tuesday, February 6 at 11:00 pm

The biography series explores how the musical artist’s brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues became rock ’n’ roll. As popular as Elvis Presley, Domino suffered degradations in the pre-civil rights South and aided integration through his music. Repeats Mon 2/12, 2pm; Wed 2/14, 2:30pm

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Independent Lens: Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

Through a Lens Darkly

Wednesday, February 7 at 11:00 pm

 A documentary spotlights the story of the pioneering African-American photographers who have recorded the lives and aspirations of generations, from slavery to the present.

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Smokey Robinson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Smokey Robinson Gershwin Prize

Friday, February 9 at 9:00 pm

In the WETA co-production, Samuel L. Jackson hosts a star-studded musical tribute to singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson as the artist receives the Library’s 2016 Gershwin Prize. Taped at DAR Constitution Hall, the concert features Robinson and an array of renowned musical artists in performance, with a special appearance by Berry Gordy, founder of Motown.

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B.B. King: American Masters

B.B. King: American Masters

Friday, February 9 at 10:30 pm

The biography ­series explores the musical artist’s challenging life and career through candid interviews with the “King of the Blues,” filmed shortly before his death, and fellow music stars, including Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and Ringo Starr.

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An Evening with Eric Holder

An Evening with Eric Holder

Sunday, February 11 at 1:30 pm

In October 2016, Washington Post writer Jonathan Capehart interviewed former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington before a live audience at The George Washington University, exploring his life, 30-year career in government and commitment to service and racial justice. Holder is the first African American to have ever held the office of U.S. Attorney General.

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The March

The March

Sunday, February 11 at 2:30 pm

The documentary spotlights the August 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech. Repeats Sat 2/17, 11:17pm

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John Lewis: Get in the Way

John Lewis: Get in the Way

Sunday, February 11 at 3:30 pm

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. Now 77, he is considered the conscience of Congress.

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American Masters: August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

American Masters: August Wilson

Tuesday, February 13 at 2:30 pm

A biographical film captures the legacy of the man some call America’s Shakespeare from his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway. It includes interviews with film and stage luminaries and his family, scenes from his award-winning plays, and more. Repeats Wed 2/14, 1pm; Fri 2/16, 11pm

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Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise: American Masters

American Masters - Maya Angelou

Friday, February 16 at 9:00 pm

Journey through the prolific life of the 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' author and activist who inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought. Features new interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Common, the Clintons and others. Repeats Fri 2/23, noon

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Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise – Out of the Shadows/Move on Up

Black America Since MLK Part 1

Sunday, February 18 at 1:30 pm

In part one of this four-hour program, Harvard scholar and WETA partner Henry Louis Gates, Jr., looks at the last five decades of African American history since the major civil rights victories of the 1960s. His premise is this: If Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came back and asked what happened in the last half-century since his passing, what would you tell him? 

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Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise – Keep Your Head Up/Touch the Sky

Black America Since MLK Part 2

Sunday, February 18 at 3:30 pm

In part two of this four-hour series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. continues to explore the tremendous gains and persistent challenges of the post-civil rights years, examining major events and turning points in American race relations. 

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Independent Lens: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

Independent Lens: HBCUs

Monday, February 19 at 9:00 pm

A film explores the pivotal role that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played in shaping American history, culture and national identity.  Repeats Tue 2/20, 4:30pm; Wed 2/21, 3pm

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Independent Lens: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Independent Lens: The Black Panthers

Monday, February 19 at 10:30 pm

A film revisits the turbulent 1960s, when a new revolutionary culture emerged with the Black Panther Party at the vanguard. Stanley Nelson tells the story of a pivotal movement, timely, once again. Repeats Tue 2/20, 2:30pm; Wed 2/21, 1pm; Sun 2/25, 3:30pm

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An Evening with the HistoryMakers: Chicago Stories

HistoryMakers: Chicago Stories

Friday, February 23 at 11:00 pm

A program draws from more than 400 interviews with African Americans across the city of Chicago, presenting a path both of remembrance and of celebration of the rich history and legacy of Chi-cago’s African-American community.

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