Iowa PBS celebrates Black History Month

Join Iowa PBS in celebrating Black History Month this February with timely, educational programs highlighting stories of courage, strength and perseverance. These programs will offer viewers opportunities to honor the contributions and achievements of Black Americans by learning more about their stories.

The scheduled programming will appear on Iowa PBS .1 as follows:

American Experience

  • Goin’ Back to T-Town — Monday, February 8 at 8 p.m.; Discover the story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that prospered during the 1920s and ’30s despite rampant and hostile segregation.
  • Voice of Freedom — Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m.; This documentary interweaves Marian Anderson’s rich life story with a landmark moment in history — her triumphant 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial — and explores fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy and the American soul.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards — Sunday, February 14 at 1 p.m.; Hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., this special chronicles the only juried American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. It serves to amplify diverse voices and foster dialogue about inclusivity that transcends the digital divide. 

Antiques Roadshow: Celebrating Black Americana — Monday, February 1 at 8 p.m.; Highlights of this special episode include an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color; and a Black American beauty book written by Madam C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song — Tuesday, February 16 and Wednesday, February 17 at 8 p.m.; This two-part series from Henry Louis Gates Jr. traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, exploring its broad history and culture, and examining its role as the epicenter of the freedom struggle that revolutionized the United States. 

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America — Friday, February 19 at 8:30 p.m.; Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for Black Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today. 

Finding Your Roots

  • Slave Trade — Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m.; Questlove, S. Epatha Merkerson and Ava DuVernay explore the unexpected places where their ancestors were scattered by slavery.
  • Write My Name in the Book of Life — Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.; Henry Louis Gates Jr. helps musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons uncover extraordinarily rare first-person accounts of their enslaved ancestors.

Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL! — Monday, February 22 at 10 p.m.; In 1968, Ellis Haizlip developed SOUL!, a public television variety show that shared Black culture with the nation, and promoted the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement.

Marching Forward — Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m.; This documentary tells the story of how friendship and professional cooperation between two high school band directors in the segregated South — one white and one Black — resulted in the experience of a lifetime for two Orlando-area bands at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. 

Sammy Davis Jr.: American Masters — Friday, February 26 at 9 p.m.; Explore the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

Viewers can also find a collection of videos highlighting influential Black Iowans and filmmakers at iowapbs.org/blackstories.

In addition to its statewide broadcast, Iowa PBS .1 is available to livestream on iowapbs.org/watch, pbs.org/livestream, the PBS Video App and YouTube TV. Iowa PBS programs, behind-the-scenes extras and more can be enjoyed on iowapbs.org, Facebook and YouTube. Viewers can also stream their favorite shows on demand using the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android and many streaming devices.