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Detroit’s Colored People’s Time, or CPT

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
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A young Tony Brown hosts CPT in 1969

Starting in 1968, Detroit public TV station WTVS produced an African-American news and public affairs show called Colored People’s Time, abbreviated as CPT. The show’s original mission was to build more community involvement among Detroit’s largely African-American urban population.

CPT was originally hosted by Tony Brown (picture at right), who went on to produce WNET’s Black Journal, and later helm his own show for over 30 years, Tony Brown’s Journal. CPT covered local and national news and events pertinent to Detroit’s African-American community, as well as the arts, fashion and culture, including live performances from musicians, dancers, more. The show is still airing today on WTVS as American Black Journal. Many shows from the archives are online.

This episode was originally aired in 1969.

Episode Segments:

Time: 0:00
*“Git White Overnight”: A public service announcement about how skin-lightening creams don’t work – “black don’t wear off.” (Length: 0:58)

Time: 1:04
* The Making of a Rioter: a feature that finds the roots of the 1967 Detroit riots in the poor condition of Detroit’s public schools. The segment includes interviews with students at Detroit’s Northeastern High, and concludes with commentary by Tony Brown about urban schools in Detroit and beyond. (Length: 5:45)

Time: 6:53

* “The Grapevine”: a segment on black Detroit’s fashion, entertainment and celebrities of the day, including Florence Ballard of The Supremes and Motown star Kim Weston. (Length: 2:49)

© Detroit Public Television; courtesy Michigan State University / MATRIX

Other highlights from the CPT/Detroit Black Journal/American Black Journal archives:

* 1977 interview with Alex Haley
* 1978 interview with James Brown on his 45th birthday.
* 1978 interview with Bobby Seale
* 1978 interview with Eartha Kitt
* 1981 interview with Sun Ra, after he was given the key to the city.
* 1985 show on Blacks in Corporate America
* 1989, “Old Hastings Street”, a history of black neighborhoods in Detroit