Celebrate Black History Month this February with Iowa PBS!
Enjoy all the must-watch programs this month that celebrate and explore the various Black Americans who have made a mark on history.
American Masters: Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands
Discover an international singer who captivated royalty in Europe and defied the conscience of 1939 America. Watch footage and hear audio recordings exploring her life and career from the Metropolitan Opera to the State Department.
Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App. (Available 2/8/22-3/9/22)
Lost In History: Alexander Clark
In the 1860s, shortly after the Civil War, a black teenager from Muscatine, Iowa tried to enroll in the local high school. She was denied admission because of her color. Her father sued and won. When the school board challenged the decision in the Iowa Supreme Court, he won again. Because of these actions, Iowa’s schools were desegregated more than 85 years before the rest of the nation officially outlaws school segregation. Despite his many historic achievements, Alexander Clark has been all but lost from history. After a chance occurrence 35 years ago, another Muscatine man, a white man, launched a campaign to restore Clark’s place in history. The cause came to consume his life.
America Reframed: The Falconer
One of only a handful of African American falconers in the country, Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community.
America Reframed: The Falconer is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App (Available 6/1/21-3/17/22)
A Monumental Journey
In 1925, a group of Black lawyers met in Des Moines to push back against a society trying to suppress their legal work. Explore the founding, impact and legacy of the National Bar Association.
Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange: Mama Gloria
Mama Gloria is a feature documentary about Gloria Allen, a 75-year-old Black trailblazing transgender activist who started a charm school for homless trans youth and is now aging with joy and grace.
Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange: Mama Gloria is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App. (Available from 3/22/21-4/30/24).
Searching for Buxton
When it comes to race relations, Iowa is probably best known for helping nominate and elect Barak Obama to the presidency, But a hundred years ago at a time when segregation was the law of the land, this 30-minute program traces how blacks and whites lived side-by-side, worked together and went to school together in a now-vanished mining town in central Iowa - Buxton.
Searching for Buxton is available to stream on iowapbs.org.
This film offers an inside look into the movement and ongoing work that transformed Chicago, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Unapologetic is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App. (Available from 12/27/21-02/25/22).
George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life
While George Washingon Carver’s rise from slavery to scientific accomplishment has inspired millions, time has reduced him to the man who did something with peanuts. This program uncovers Carver’s complexities and reveals the full impact of his life and work.
American Experience: Freedom Riders
The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South.
Freedom Riders is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App (available from 02/06/12-07/19/23).
Just a Mortal Man: The Jerry Lawson Story
Jerry Lawson was the original lead singer of the legendary a cappella group The Persuasions, first discovered by Frank Zappa in the Early ‘70s. During his 40-year tenure with the group, Jerry recorded 24 albums, toured internationally and sang alongside Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, among others.
Just a Mortal Man: The Jerry Lawson Story is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS Video App (available from 02/10/22-03/27/22).