WTTW Celebrates Black History Month with New Content

WTTW recently released its schedule of special programming in celebration of Black History Month. The spotlight program of the month is a new two-part special from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:

  • The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
    Tuesday, February 16 and Wednesday, February 17, 9:00-11:00 pm
    In this two-part film, Dr. Gates retraces the 400-year-old-story of the Black Church in America, exploring its role as the site of African American organizing, resilience, autonomy, freedom, and solidarity. Part one explores the roots of African American religion beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and part two traces how the Black church expanded its reach to address social inequality and minister to those in need, and its role in the present.On Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 pm, WTTW will host a virtual preview screening and community conversation in connection with this film. Sylvia Ewing will moderate a discussion with Dr. Waltrina Middleton (Executive Director, Community Renewal Society); Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III (Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ); Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr. (President, Chicago Theological Seminary); and Taurean Webb (Director, Center for the Church and the Black Experience at Garrett Theological Seminary). This event is free and open to the public; RSVP required.

Other highlights:

On Sunday, February 14, WTTW offers three back-to-back programs with Chicago connections:

  • Legacy: The Untold Story of Chicago Black Music, 3:00-4:00 pm
    From soulful horns to house music, this film tells the untold stories of Chicago’s Black music scene and its founding fathers.
  • Mandela in Chicago, 4:00-5:00 pm
    This new documentary tells the story of the city’s anti-apartheid leaders who worked for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and celebrated his 1993 visit to the Windy City.
  • Chicago at the Crossroad, 5:00-6:00 pm
    While gun violence is on the decline in most major U.S. cities, why has it continued to increase in many of Chicago’s communities? This documentary reveals how the elimination of public housing led to instability on the city’s South and West sides, and explores potential solutions for residents. Speaking directly with gang members, community activists, gunshot victims, and community leaders, the film opens a rare historical window into the systematic creation of neighborhoods plagued by violent crime.

On Friday, February 19, tune in for another triple-header of Chicago-produced documentaries, from The HistoryMakers:

  • The HistoryMakers on Success, 9:00-10:00 pm
    This documentary chronicles the long road to success that many well-known and unsung African American history-makers have journeyed, along with the many obstacles that have stood in their way. Their inspirational stories emphasize the importance of education, risk taking, hard work, and perseverance in overcoming racial barriers to achieve success against all odds.
  • The HistoryMakers on Faith, 10:00-11:00 pm
    This episode explores the strength of faith in the African American community and the role it plays in achieving success. Inspirational stories from Susan L. Taylor, Reverend Al Sharpton, Kim Fields, BB King, and many others serve to emphasize the power of believing in your dreams.
  • The HistoryMakers on Courage, 11:00 pm-12:00 am
    This program illustrates how taking stands against social, economic, and racial barriers were amongst the many courageous actions taken by history makers to achieve their aspirations. The revealing personal stories of Nikki Giovanni, Vernon Jordan, Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte, and many others illustrate the importance of following your own path and standing up for what you believe in despite the opposition or consequences.

For descriptions and a program schedule for Black History Month on WTTW, please visit wttw.com/blackhistory. Watch these programs on television, through the PBS video app and online at wttw.com/watch.

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