Black History Month TV Schedule and Streams

February 5, 2019

THIRTEEN spotlights the pioneers who have enriched the fabric of American history and culture with Black History Month premieres and encores in February, including new American Masters films on entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. and country singer Charley Pride. Visit thirteen.org/blackhistorymonth for previews, documentaries and films streaming online, including THIRTEEN’s archival content from 1960s and more.

Most premieres stream for a limited time after broadcast.

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. This encore of the series will not stream.

Monday, February 4

9 p.m.Antiques Roadshow: Celebrating Black Americana


Collectors bring items related to Louis Armstrong, Willie Mayes, painter Edward Mitchell and Martin Luther King, Jr. for evaluation on Antiques Roadshow. Stream now.

Premiere: Monday, February 4

10 p.m. Independent Lens: Black Memorabilia


What does it mean when Americans rebuke racism yet hold on to nostalgic objects that embrace it? Black Memorabilia explores the world of racist material, both antique and new, that pushes demeaning representations of African Americans. From industrial China to the rural South to Brooklyn, the film shines a light on those who reproduce, consume–and reclaim–racially-charged items. Streams for two weeks after broadcast. Stream now.

Premiere: Tuesday, February 5

8 p.m.Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


As he and his team uncover genealogical paper trails around the world and research DNA databases, noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. unearths the family histories of influential people who help shape our national identity. In this episode, Golden Globe winner S. Epatha Merkerson (Lackawanna Blues) is a guest along with former athlete and television personality Michael Strahan. They both learn unexpected stories that challenge assumptions about black history. Streams for one month after broadcast.

Premiere: Friday, February 8

9 p.m. Live from Lincoln Center: Pipeline


A mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him in Dominique Morisseau’s play. Nya Joseph (Karen Pittman) is an inner-city public high school teacher dedicated to her students’ achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari (Namir Smallwood), to a private boarding school. When a controversial incident threatens Omari with expulsion, Nya is forced to reconcile his rage and her own parental decisions as she rallies to save her son.

Saturday, February 9

1 p.m. Pioneers: Reginald F. Lewis and the Making of a Billion Dollar Empire


This half-hour documentary chronicles the life of business pioneer Reginald F. Lewis. Lewis rose to prominence as a lawyer and leader of the global food company TLC Beatrice International. Lewis was the first African American to close an overseas billion dollar leveraged buyout deal with a global conglomerate of 64 companies in 31 countries. Stream now.

Premiere: Monday, February 11

10 p.m. Independent Lens: Hale County This Morning, This Evening


Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments in the lives of people in the community of Hale County, Alabama, Hale County This Morning, This Evening offers a richly detailed glimpse at life in America’s Black Belt, simultaneously celebrating its beauty and bearing witness to the consequences of the social construction of race. Photographer and filmmaker RaMell Ross employs the integrity of nonfiction filmmaking and the currency of stereotypical imagery to fill in the gaps between individual black male icons. Stream this Oscar-nominated documentary for a limited time.

Thursday, February 14 at 9 p.m. and Saturday, February 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Encore presentation of Maya Angelou: American Masters


As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, Angelou inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words. You can stream this encore now through February 18.

Learn more about Maya Angelou on the American Masters site.

Premiere: Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m.

American Masters – Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me


The first major film documentary to examine Sammy Davis, Jr.’s vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th century America. Read more about Sammy Davis, Jr., the self-described “only black, Puerto Rican, one-eyed, Jewish entertainer.”

Premiere: Friday, February 22 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, February 24 at 10 p.m.

American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me


Explore the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride. Raised in segregated Mississippi, his journey shows the ways that artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice.

Friday, February 22 at 10 p.m.

Encore presentation of Great Performances: Nas Live from the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop


Witness the groundbreaking hip-hop artist perform a symphonic rendition of his seminal debut album Illmatic with the National Symphony Orchestra. Nas paints a densely textured lyrical portrait of life in a New York City public housing project. stream now through the benefit THIRTEEN Passport.

Stream THIRTEEN Specials from the Archives

THIRTEEN has gone back to its archives to digitize its excellent programs broadcast from the 1960s and 1970s (long before the internet and streaming video!), making them available to today’s audiences, including those who watched the original broadcasts.

Free at Last: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Still from the film Free at Last – Martin Luther King, Jr. A production crew for the film was documenting Dr. King’s travels in the south when he was assassinated.


On April 4, 1968 an assassin’s bullet ended Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. For several months leading up to that, Dr. King was being filmed by a crew from THIRTEEN’s Public Broadcasting Laboratory series. The film was hurriedly finished and broadcast the week following the assassination, with PBL photographer Joseph Louw’s eyewitness testimony about photographing the slain Dr. King at the scene of his murder. The program won an Emmy for Best Documentary. Watch now.

Take This Hammer

Still from Take This Hammer (1963), featuring James Baldwin.

Still of James Baldwin looking out of car window in San Francisco, from Take This Hammer (1963).


Author and activist James Baldwin meets with members of the local African-American community in San Francisco in the spring of 1963. He is escorted by Youth For Service’s Executive Director Orville Luster and is intent on discovering “the real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.” THIRTEEN members can stream now through the benefit THIRTEEN Passport.

The Dynamics of Desegregation

This 15-part THIRTEEN series from 1962 and 1963 was an “intensive study of race relations in the United States.” Harvard psychology professor Thomas F. Pettigrew hosted the series. It looks at the historical, political, psychological, personal and cultural aspects of segregation, with a particular emphasis on the South. In Episode 15: With Some Deliberate Speed, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Pettigrew discuss five stages of desegregation since the Supreme Court decision of 1954.

THIRTEEN members can stream now through the benefit THIRTEEN Passport.

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See thirteen.org/blackhistorymonth for previews, full episodes, and THIRTEEN’s digitized archival content from the 1960s and 1970s, and more.