Black History Month TV Schedule and Streams

February 1, 2017

bhm2017_color_640x360THIRTEEN spotlights the pioneers who have enriched the fabric of American history and culture with Black History Month specials airing all month long. Visit for previews, clips and full episodes streaming online, including digitized archival content from the 1960s, and more.

Saturday, February 2

Marathon 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Finding Your Roots) recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking six-part series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present — when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.

This encore of the series will not stream.

Friday, February 10

9pm ET: Smokey Robinson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Samuel L. Jackson hosts this star-studded salute to the rhythm and blues icon Smokey Robinson, recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for Popular Song. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin’s dedication to American song and culture and the generous efforts of their families to preserve and perpetuate that heritage. The evening will include performances by Robinson, CeeLo Green, Corinne Bailey Rae, Esperanza Spalding and more.

10:30pm ET: 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. Now 76, he is considered the conscience of Congress. Through never-before-seen interviews shot over 20 years, Lewis, a masterful storyteller, tells the gripping tale of his role in these history-making events. Other key interviewees include civil rights activists Andrew Young, C.T. Vivian, Juanita Abernathy and Bernard Lafayette, plus Lewis’ congressional colleagues Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Emanuel Cleaver and Amory Houghton.

Monday, February 13

10pm ET: Independent Lens: Accidental Courtesy

This documentary features African-American musician Daryl Davis, who befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds and forge racial conciliation, one person at a time.

Thursday, February 16

10:30pm ET: African American Museum

Monday, February 20

9pm ET: The Talk: Race in America

In homes and communities across America, a conversation is taking place between parents of color and their children — especially sons — about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police. “The Talk,” as it is called, has become increasingly necessary in the wake of recent tragic events between people of color and law enforcement – such as the fatal shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York.
This critical conversation – and a larger, equally timely one about the ever-widening gap between majority-minority populations in the United States – are the focus of The Talk – Race in America, a new documentary.

Directed by Sam Pollard (American Masters: August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand), the two-hour film presents six personal stories from across the country to illustrate the issue from multiple perspectives: the parent, the child, the police, and the community. The documentary’s impact will be further enhanced by a multiplatform media initiative featuring extensive online, social media, and community engagement components. Visit for exclusive video content and other features. Explore such topics as community policing, the power of representation in media, and how to talk to children about race. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #TheTalkPBS.

More than a snapshot of a nation divided, The Talk – Race in America reveals how communities are working together to understand racial tensions in our country and generate change, healing, and unity.

Tuesday, February 21

8pm ET American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

American Masters continues its 31st season with Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, the first documentary feature about the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The film weaves her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos that paint hidden moments of her exuberant life – from her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana, to her inauguration poem for President Bill Clinton. Interviews include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, John Singleton, and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.

Friday, February 21

10pm ET: American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
(see description, above)

Saturday, February 25

4pm ET: The Talk: Race in America
(see description, above)

Sunday, February 26

12:30pm ET: American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
(see description, above)

Monday, February 27

8-11pm ET: Africa’s Great Civilizations (Hours 1, 2 and 3 of 6)

In his new six-hour series, Africa’s Great Civilizations, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a new look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through 200,000 years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world.

Hours one through three cover “Origins” and “Empires of Gold”. Journey to Kenya, Egypt and beyond as Gates discovers the origins of man, the formation of early human societies and the creation of significant cultural and scientific achievements on the African continent. Chart the ancient rise and impact of Christianity and Islam across Africa. Night one of the series ends with the complex trade networks and advanced educational institutions that transformed early north and west Africa from deserted lands into the continent’s wealthiest kingdoms and learning epicentres.

Tuesday, February 28

8pm ET: Africa’s Great Civilizations (Hour 4 of 6)

In “Cities,” Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the power of Africa’s greatest ancient cities, including Kilwa, Great Zimbabwe andBenin City, whose wealth, art and industrious successes attracted new European interest and interaction along the continent’s east and west coasts.

Wednesday, March 1

9-11pm ET: Africa’s Great Civilizations (Hours 5 and 6 finale)

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the impact of the Atlantic trading world, giving rise to powerful new kingdoms, but also transatlantic slave trade. Learn of the revolutionary movements of the 18th and early 19th centuries, including the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate. The final hour of the series explores the dynamism of 19th-century Africa, the “Scramble” by European powers for its riches, and the defiant and successful stand of uncolonized Ethiopia.

Visit for previews, clips and full episodes streaming online, including newly digitized archival content from the 1960s, and more.

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