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Celebrate Black History

Explore this collection of national and local programs honoring key historical events and cultural contributions of Black Americans.

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A close-up of Maya Angelou with short gray hair and a shiny black blouse.

African American Lives 2
Maya Angelou shares the story of learning about her Mende heritage during an interview with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Three women in red tops, skirts, and dresses, and their heads wrapped in red fabric pose on steps outside between buildings.

AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
This series is at the forefront in bringing informative and entertaining films about modern life in the African Diaspora to television audiences in the U.S.

A black and white photo of Tulsa shop fronts with a marching band in the road.

American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town
Learn about the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa — once a flourishing Black community in the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation.

Marian Anderson in a coat with a large furry collar next to a railing with cityscape in the background.

American Experience: Voice of Freedom
Marian Anderson performs at the Lincoln Memorial after being barred from singing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Allen Toussaint in a light-colored suit plays piano on the Austin City Limits stage.

Austin City Limits: Allen Toussaint: New Orleans Legend
Enjoy a vintage performance with New Orleans soul songwriter, producer and musician Allen Toussaint.

Barack Obama in a tie and white shirt with sleeves rolled up uses both hands to shake hands with people in a crowd behind a barricade.

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise (Parts 1 and 2)
In this series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. studies the last 50 years of African American history.

From behind an illustration of a church with a steeple, the sun radiates outward in multi-colored sections designed to look like stained glass. In the foreground are a minister, choir member, and three others.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
This intimate two-part, four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the 400-year-old story of the black church in America.

The program logo sits atop an abstracted image of hills and trees in black and gray tones.

Black in Appalachia
Learn about a project that showcases the contributions of Black communities of the Mountain South.

A black and white photo of a football player in a jersey with 20 on the chest holds a ball in his left arm and extends his right in a protective gesture.

Black in Blue
Learn the story of four African American football players at the University of Kentucky who broke the color line in the Southeastern Conference in the 1960s.

Renee Shaw, Bianca Lynne Spriggs, Crystal Wilkinson, and Nikky Finney sit at a table with microphones. In the foreground are a fern and two audience members and in the back is a blue curtain.

Black Women Writers Forum
Writers Nikky Finney, Crystal Wilkinson and Bianca Lynne Spriggs discuss the experiences of and challenges faced by Black women in the South. Renee Shaw moderates.

A black and white photo of a close-up of a car with several adults inside along with one boy who looks straight at the camera.

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America
Discover how the automobile brought mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and violence, and how that history resonates today.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in a blue suit coat, blue and white shirt, and a gray tie smiling. The program logo is superimposed over the image.

Finding Your Roots: Write My Name in the Book of Life
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons uncover extraordinarily rare first-person accounts of their enslaved ancestors.

Jessye Norman seated on set in a green jacket holds a copy of her memoir.

Great Conversations: Jessye Norman and Gloria Steinem
Opera singer Jessye Norman discusses her memoir “Stand Up Straight and Sing!”. She is interviewed by Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and co-founder of Ms. magazine.

Anna Deavere Smith seated in a white shirt with cuff links and black vest.

Great Performances: “Twilight: Los Angeles”
Award-winning director Marc Levin weaves Anna Deavere Smith’s stage performance about the 1992 L.A. riots with news footage and interviews to create a portrait of rage, sorrow, loss, and battered hope. 

Ellis Haizlip with the J.C. White Singers on the set of SOUL!

Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!
Celebrate SOUL!, the public television variety program that shared Black culture with the nation.

A black-and-white image depicting  six black people on the underground railroad.

Kentucky’s Underground Railroad — Passage to Freedom
An account of the fugitive slave movement in Kentucky, focusing on those who lived in Kentucky and sought to escape to the North. A 2000 KET production.

A black and white photo of a man with his back to the camera with a US flag waving behind him. On the white lines on the flag, names are written.

The Talk: Race in America
This film discusses the conversation taking place across the country between parents of color and their children about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

An old photo of William Still in a white shirt, dark tie and coat.

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story
This is the story of a Philadelphia clerk who risked his life shepherding runaway slaves to freedom in the years leading up to America’s Civil War.

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For Passport Members

In the foreground are two men with young boys riding on their shoulders. In the background are many people walking along a road lined with trees and buildings.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Presented and written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this six-hour series takes viewers on a journey across two continents and five centuries to explore the transition of African Americans.

A close-up of Dave Chapelle in large, squarish black glasses and a black leather jacket.

Dave Chappelle: The Mark Twain Prize
An outstanding lineup of entertainers gathers in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to salute Dave Chappelle, recipient of the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

A black-and-white photo of Jackie Robinson with a young boy on his lap, a young girl at his side, being hugged by a young woman, with an older woman seated next to Jackie and the boy.

Jackie Robinson — Parts 1 and 2
Jack Roosevelt Robinson rose from humble origins to cross baseball’s color line and become one of the most beloved men in America. A fierce integrationist, Robinson used his immense fame to speak out against the discrimination he saw on and off the field.

A close-up of Billie Holiday singing at an old-fashioned silver microphone with light lines across the image for mood.

Jazz — A Ken Burns series
Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns takes an in-depth look at jazz, the most original American art form, in this miniseries.

A close up of John Lewis in a coat and tie.

John Lewis – Get in the Way
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.

A woman in a white blouse, tan long skirt, and a long peach-colored apron strides toward the camera on a path with sugar cane plants on either side of her.

The Long Song on Masterpiece
This three-part series based on Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel follows a slave and her mistress. Their lives change when a new overseer sets out to improve plantation life.

Tina Turner in a fitted black dress with her head turned to the side.

Tina Turner: One Last Time
In 2000, Tina Turner’s final UK concert was filmed at London’s Wembley Stadium with a state-of-the-art stage set, 18 cameras, and one of the world’s top directors. Turner’s inspiring, powerful performance made it an unforgettable event.

An old photo of Jack Johnson bare-chested in a boxing pose.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Follow Jack Johnson’s remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Galveston, Texas, as the son of former slaves, to the world of professional boxing.

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