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Black History Month 2021
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Black History Month

PBS Western Reserve Honors African American History and Culture with Special Programming in February

In celebration of Black History Month, PBS Western Reserve announces a February lineup of programming that includes three new local productions: NICK CAVE, SUMMIT LAKE: HEARD; LINES BROKEN: THE STORY OF MARION MOTLEY; and BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: JOURNEY TO CANTON.

Shows airing for the first time this month on either PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1) or Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2) are marked with an asterisk (*).

Antiques Roadshow, Celebrating Black Americana

Antiques Roadshow, Celebrating Black Americana

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 1, at 9 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 2 AM

Highlights include an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color; an African-American beauty book written by Madam C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire; and a trip with host Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Leila Dunbar to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates Jr.*

A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates Jr.*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 1, at 10 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 3 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Friday, Feb. 5, at 8 PM

A conversation with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provides an interesting and rarely seen inside look into the life and career of the well-known Harvard professor and historian.

An Evening With Della Reese

An Evening With Della Reese*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 5 PM

An Evening With Della Reese provides a rare look into the life of the late legendary singer and actress, Della Reese. Taped in Atlanta as a TV special in front of a live audience for The HistoryMakers, Della Reese was interviewed by actress Lorraine Toussaint.

Jazz Ambassadors

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 9 PM
Repeats Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 2 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 PM

See why great American jazz artists Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington faced a painful dilemma when asked to travel the world as cultural ambassadors. Leslie Odom, Jr. narrates a Cold War story of music, diplomacy and civil rights.

Nick Cave, Summit Lake: Heard

Nick Cave, Summit Lake: Heard*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 5, at 9 PM
Saturday, Feb. 6, at 1:30 AM
Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 9 PM
Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 1:30 AM
Sunday, Feb. 14, at 12:30 AM & 1 PM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 3 PM
Thursday, Feb. 11, at 9 PM

A grand performance by internationally renowned artist Nick Cave, held in Akron’s Summit Lake neighborhood, coincided with redevelopment efforts in the community orchestrated by the residents themselves.

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Fridays, Feb. 5 & 12, at 9 PM

Join Henry Louis Gates, Jr., for this exploration of the transformative years following the Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction and revolutionary social change.

Lines Broken: The Story of Marion Motley

Lines Broken: The Story of Marion Motley*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 5, at 9:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 AM
Monday, Feb. 8, at 10 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 3 AM
Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 8 PM
Thursday, Feb. 18, at 1 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 3:30 PM
Friday, Feb. 12, at 8 PM
Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2:30 PM

In 1946, Marion Motley was one of four African American men to break pro football’s color barrier when he joined the Cleveland Browns. Motley’s story of adversity, personal tragedy and triumphs includes rarely heard archival interviews and new interviews with historians, friends and descendants.

Black College Football Hall of Fame: Journey to Canton*

Black College Football Hall of Fame: Journey to Canton*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 5, at 10 PM
Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2:30 AM
Monday, Feb. 8, at 10:30 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 3:30 AM
Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 8:30 PM
Thursday, Feb. 18, at 1:30 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 4 PM
Friday, Feb. 12, at 8:30 PM

Fifty years after the opening of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, the Black College Football Hall of Fame was officially welcomed to its campus. Along with it came a game and celebration of the historically Black college and university brand of football.

An Answer from Akron

An Answer from Akron

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 5, at 10:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 6, at 3 AM
Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 PM
Saturday, Feb. 20, at 2 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 4:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8 PM

In Akron, members of the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha became the first black organization to receive federal funding for affordable housing. These men provided homes for their friends and families who had been displaced by an aggressive urban renewal program. This achievement is historic not only because it was the first of its kind, but because it also represents a successful case study in affordable housing still in operation today, more than 50 years later.

Kindred Spirits: Artists Hilda Wilkinson Brown and Lilian Thomas Burwell*

Kindred Spirits: Artists Hilda Wilkinson Brown and Lilian Thomas Burwell*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 12:30 AM
Sunday, Feb. 14, at 1:30 PM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2:30 PM

Explore the unique relationship between an African American aunt and niece who became accomplished artists and educators despite the hardships of the Great Depression and the inequities of racial segregation.

American Masters, Maya Angelou

American Masters, Maya Angelou

PBS WESTERN RESERVE (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Sunday, Feb. 7, at 10:30 AM
Saturday, Feb. 20, 1 PM

Journey through the prolific life of the author and activist who inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought. Features new interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Common, the Clintons and others.

Hollywood’s Architect

Hollywood’s Architect

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 8, at midnight

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 PM

Nicknamed “Architect to the Stars,” African American architect Paul R. Williams had a life story that could have been dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter. From the early 1920s until his retirement 50 years later, Williams was one of the most successful architects in the country. But at the height of his career Williams wasn't always welcome in the restaurants and hotels he designed or the neighborhoods where he built homes, because of his race.

Marching Forward

Marching Forward*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 8, at 5 PM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Thursday, Feb. 25, at 9 PM

Learn of two high school band directors whose love of music and dedication to their students inspired an atypical collaboration in the segregated south. This documentary tells the story of how their friendship and professional cooperation resulted in the experience of a lifetime for two Orlando-area bands at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

American Experience, Goin’ Back to T-Town*

American Experience, Goin’ Back to T-Town*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 8, at 9 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 2 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7 PM
Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 8 PM

Hear the extraordinary history of Greenwood, a successful Black community in segregated Tulsa, Okla. In a nostalgic celebration of old-fashioned neighborhood life, Black residents of “T-Town” relive their community's remarkable rise and ultimate decline.

An Evening with Harry Belafonte

An Evening with Harry Belafonte*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 5 PM

This one-on-one interview provides a rare look into the life and times of the legendary Harry Belafonte. Taped in Chicago in front of a live audience, the entertainer and humanitarian is interviewed by his friend Danny Glover. Belafonte appeared in countless performances and was honored with many awards; however, seldom, if ever, has he been interviewed about his life story.

Dave Chappelle: The Mark Twain Prize

Dave Chappelle: The Mark Twain Prize

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 12, at 10 PM
Saturday, Feb. 13, at 2:30 AM

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Dave Chappelle.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Saturday, Feb. 13 from 11 AM to 7 PM

This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race. Hosted by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and drawing on some of America's top historians, the series guides you on a journey across 500 years and two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American.

Amen! Music of the Black Church

Amen! Music of the Black Church*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Sunday, Feb. 14, at 5 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, Feb. 20, at 8 PM
Sunday, Feb. 28, at 7 PM

Raymond Wise guides viewers on an educational and uplifting learning experience while leading the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble in a performance of sacred music deriving from African traditions.

Charlie’s Place

Charlie’s Place

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Sunday, Feb. 14, at 5:30 PM

A significant stop on the Chitlin' Circuit, Charlie's Place featured many of the great musicians of the era, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Ray Charles. The story of Charlie's Place remains an important example of racial diversity, black entrepreneurship and the struggle for civil rights in South Carolina and beyond.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2020*

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2020*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 15, at 5 PM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 PM
Sunday, Feb. 28, at 9 PM

Hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this event chronicles the only juried American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. The program serves to amplify diverse voices and foster dialogue about inclusivity that transcends the digital divide.

American Experience, Voice of Freedom*

American Experience, Voice of Freedom*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, Feb. 15, at 9 PM
Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 2 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 28, at 5 PM

On Easter Sunday 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. She was barred from performing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt publicly resigned her D.A.R. membership in protest. This film marks that landmark moment.

Great Performances, Twilight: Los Angeles

Great Performances, Twilight: Los Angeles

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Monday, Feb. 15, at 10 PM

Anna Deavere Smith has been credited with inventing a new form of theater—a provocative blend of performance, social commentary and journalism designed to encourage a national dialogue about controversial issues. For her powerful one-woman, multi-voiced production about the 1991 Rodney King beating, the violent aftermath of the 1992 verdict and the lasting impact of the events on America’s conscience, Smith interviewed hundreds of people involved in the event and its aftermath.

An Evening with Colin Powell

An Evening with Colin Powell*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 5 PM

Gain a rare and insightful look into the life and career of U.S. general and statesman Colin Powell. Taped in front of an audience at George Washington University, Powell speaks about his childhood and his family’s Caribbean heritage and shares stories of his career as a soldier and his appointment as the first African American United States Secretary of State. He also shares the contributions of African Americans in the military and their involvement in every war in the history of the United States.

Finding Your Roots, Write My Name in the Book of Life*

Finding Your Roots, Write My Name in the Book of Life*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 8 PM
Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 1 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Thursday, Feb. 18, at 8 PM

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons uncover extraordinarily rare first-person accounts of their enslaved ancestors.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 16, and Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 9 PM
Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 18, at 2 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Fridays, Feb. 19 & 26, at 9 PM
Saturdays, Feb. 20 & 27, at 3 PM

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., takes viewers on a journey through the rich and complex evolution of the Black church to reveal how it has influenced nearly every chapter of the African American story and continues to animate black identity today.

American Experience, The Murder of Emmett Till

American Experience, The Murder of Emmett Till

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Friday, Feb. 19, at 8 PM
Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7 PM

In August 1955, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Mississippi. Emmett Till didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South. Three days later, two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of the night, beat him brutally and shot him. Till’s death was a spark that mobilized the civil rights movement.

Fat Boy: The Billy Stewart Story

Fat Boy: The Billy Stewart Story*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 19, at 10 PM
Saturday, Feb. 20, at 3 AM

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Thursday, Feb.18, at 9 PM
Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 PM

Explore the life and career of one of the most popular rhythm and blues singers of the 1960s, tracing his journey from a young piano player to a famous R&B balladeer. The production features a rich collection of archival stills and never-before-seen footage, including Interviews with prevalent musicians, friends and family who were close to him that help paint a picture of his life and career.

An Evening with Eric Holder

An Evening with Eric Holder

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, Feb. 20, at noon

Washington Post blogger and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart engages in conversation with the third-longest-serving attorney general in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that office.

A Sculpted Life

A Sculpted Life

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Sunday, Feb. 21, at 9:30 PM

Nebraska has chosen to replace both of its statues in the U.S. Capitol, and artist Littleton Alston will create one of them. He will be the first African American to create a sculpture for Statuary Hall and the subject will be author Willa Cather.

Independent Lens, Mr. Soul!*

Independent Lens, Mr. Soul!*

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Monday, Feb. 22, at 10 PM
Saturday, Feb. 27, at 1 PM

During the civil rights movement, one Black pioneer revisited a Harlem renaissance and ushered giants and rising stars of Black American culture onto national television. Ellis Haizlip created the groundbreaking PBS series “SOUL!,” which became one of the most culturally significant television shows in U.S. history.

An Evening with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee*

An Evening with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee*

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 5 PM

This is a historical look into the life of the legendary actor-activist husband-wife team. Educator and activist Angela Davis interviews these familiar black voices that we have come to trust and respect. As narrators and spoken word artists, they have struggled for civil rights and human dignity over the years.

American Experience, Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory*

American Experience, Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory*

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Fusion on Friday, Feb. 26, at 8 PM

Discover how a group of former slaves saved their school by signing in the decade after the Civil War. The Fisk Jubilee Singers battled prejudice and oppression to sing their way into the world’s heart in a series of concerts in the United States and Europe.

Nat King Cole’s Greatest Songs

Nat King Cole’s Greatest Songs

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, Feb. 26, at 8:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2 AM

Celebrate the centennial of the timeless artist in this special featuring his greatest hits and cherished standards, including "Mona Lisa," "Unforgettable" and "When I Fall in Love," along with rarely seen footage from his variety show.

An Evening with Gwen Ifill

An Evening with Gwen Ifill

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, Feb. 27, at noon

Taped in the historic Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building, and hosted by Gwen's friend and fellow journalist Michele Norris, this program turned the tables on the long-time host, giving an insider's perspective into Ifill's childhood and development as a print and television correspondent.