Celebrate Black History Month
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: Roberta Flack
American Masters: Roberta Flack follows the music icon from a piano lounge 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.
Roberta Flack is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS App. (Available till 2/21/23)
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.
American Experience: Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming A Space
Meet the influential author and key figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Also a trained anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston collected folklore throughout the South and Caribbean — reclaiming, honoring and celebrating Black life on its own terms.
American Experience: Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS 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.
Independent Lens: The Big Payback
An Evanston, Illinois rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?
Independent Lens: The Big Payback is available to stream on pbs.org and the PBS App. (Available until 4/16/23).
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.
Telling Our Own Story: Black History
Professor Venise Berry and filmmaker S. Torriano Berry spotlight Black Iowans who have made their mark on the state and world. Explore the history of religion, civil rights, economics, entertainment and the military as it relates to Black Iowans.
Telling Our Own Story: Black History, along with three other Telling Our Own Story documentaries, is available to stream on YouTube, iowapbs.org and the PBS App.
George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life
While George Washington 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.
Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World
Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World is an incredible narrative of struggle, triumph and resistance that will be brought to life through the lens of an art form that has chronicled the emotions, experiences and expressions of Black and Brown communities: Hip Hop. In the aftermath of America's racial and political reckoning in 2020, the perspectives and stories shared in Hip Hop are key to understanding injustice in the U.S. over the last half-century.
Fight the Power streams on pbs.org and the PBS App beginning 1/30/23.