Alabama Public Television honors Black History Month with a closer look at the lives of Black Americans who have made indelible marks on Alabama and American culture and history, and at the struggle for civil rights. Watch these programs on APT or stream anytime after their premiere on the free PBS Video App.
We begin the month with our own award-winning film ALABAMA BLACK BELT BLUES on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 8:00pm. The film uses slave narratives, archival blues recordings and the recorded music of contemporary African American blues musicians to explore the role this music has played in the region from slavery onward. From cotton fields, to church pews, to prison spaces, to juke joints rural and urban, the film follows the refrain of the region’s blues through the cultural landscapes of Alabama, yesterday and today.
SHUTTLESWORTH, our film about Birmingham's iconic civil rights leader that premiered in December, returns for two broadcasts on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5:00pm and Thursday, Feb. 9 at 9:00pm. The documentary explores the life and legacy of an unrelenting freedom fighter who inspired liberation movements all over the world. SHUTTLESWORTH features interviews with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington, Jr., Dr. Martha Bouyer, Judge U.W. Clemon, Dr. Robert Corley, Dr. Andrew M. Manis, Fred Shuttlesworth, Jr., Ruby Shuttlesworth Bester, Patricia Shuttlesworth Massengill, Dr. Carolyn Shuttlesworth, Carolyn McKinstry, Dr. Sephira Bailey Shuttlesworth, Rev. Carter Gaston, Diane McWhorter, Janice Kelsey, Jefferson Drew, Shelley Stewart, Bishop Calvin Woods, and Odessa Woolfolk.
The series produced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. have been some of the most popular among APT viewers for the past decade, and for Black History Month we've brought back the two most recent ones. MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, airing Friday nights on Feb. 3 and 10 at 9:00pm, chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” The documentary series recounts the establishment of the Prince Hall Masons in 1775 through the formation of all-Black towns and business districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, destinations for leisure and the social media phenomenon of Black Twitter.
THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG will air Monday nights on Feb. 6 and 13 at 3:00pm. Tracing the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, THE BLACK CHURCH reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage.
The Sunday afternoon series LEGACY LIST WITH MATT PAXTON visits Birmingham on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 5:00pm. Matt is in town to help Lisa and Kimberly McNair, the sisters of one of the four little girls killed in the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, downsize their longtime home, filled with powerful memories and mementoes from the tragedy.
FIGHT THE POWER: HOW HIP HOP CHANGED THE WORLD which premiered Jan. 31 continues on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 8:00pm and Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 8:00 & 9:00pm. Produced by BBC Studios for PBS and BBC Music, FIGHT THE POWER recounts the origins of this bold and revolutionary art form through the voices of those who were there at the beginning, creating an anthology of how hip hop became a cultural phenomenon against the backdrop of American history.
PBS is celebrating Black History Month by throwing a Block Party! Stream new and beloved programs during the month of February, including FIGHT THE POWER: HOW HIP-HOP CHANGED THE WORLD, INDEPENDENT LENS: THE BIG PAYBACK, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: ZORA NEALE HURSTON: CLAIMING A SPACE, FINDING YOUR ROOTS, AND AMERICAN MASTERS: ROBERTA FLACK. JOIN THE PARTY
Other specials airing for Black History Month Include:
Charlie Pride: American Masters
Thursday, Feb. 2 at 9:00pm
Sammy Davis, Jr.: American Masters
Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 4:00pm
NOVA: Star Chasers of Senegal
Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 8:00pm
Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin
Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 9:00pm
Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4:00pm
Becoming Frederick Douglass
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 5:00pm
Ida B. Wells: American Stories
Thursday, Feb. 16 at 9:00pm
John Lewis: Get in the Way
Monday, Feb. 20 at 10:00pm
American Experience: Freedom Riders
Thursday Feb. 23 at 8:00pm
Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals
Friday, Feb. 24 at 8:30pm
Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future
Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:00pm