Broadcasting While Black

Celebrate Black History Month with THIRTEEN. Read about our 'Broadcasting While Black' web project, which covers the early years of black-produced public affairs and arts programs for television, from 1968-on.

Say Brother: Televising Black Power in Boston

Devorah Heitner | December 22, 2009

Say Brother was WGBH-Boston’s answer to America’s racial crisis. On April 4, 1968, as the news of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, murder touched off major unrest in other cities, Boston Mayor Kevin White considered a dilemma: White feared that a concert scheduled for the following day, April 5, by R&B icon James Brown would,…

A History and Overview of Black-Identity Public Affairs TV

staff | February 28, 2009

Black public affairs television began in the late sixties as African-Americans took control of the streets — and the airwaves. After decades of unfair representation in the media, a new generation of African-American producers, writers, and editors brought their news and views to programs like Black Journal, Soul!, Say Brother, and many others. Black public…

List of Black-Produced TV Shows Nationwide, from 1968-on

staff | February 27, 2009

Public TV programs like Soul!, Say Brother and Black Journal were only a few of the shows by, about, and for black America. Here’s a more comprehensive list of local, national, and award-winning black community television from the past forty years. National Programs on Public Television Black Journal/Tony Brown’s Journal (1968-2008) (transitioned from PBS –…

Interview: Producer Charles Hobson on “Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant”

staff | February 26, 2009

Watch Charles Hobson Interview (7:45) Forty years ago, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn was one of the largest and most dynamic African-American communities in the country – 400,000 people made their home within its three square miles. But Bed-Stuy became synonymous with crime and poverty when the mainstream media focused on urban unrest during the…

Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players, from Inside Bed-Stuy, 1968

staff | February 25, 2009

Described by Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant producer Charles Hobson as one of the program’s “most-requested pieces”, this video features the Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players delivering a jaw-droppingly powerful spoken-word performance. These kids, from Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, deliver a powerful protest about race relations in America. Watch the Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers…

Harry Belafonte on Inside Bed-Stuy, 1968

staff | February 24, 2009

Harry Belafonte Interview (11:33) In this 1968 segment, singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte talks to the Bed-Stuy community in a local Brooklyn park, and takes a Q&A from Bed-Stuy residents. Belafonte had always been active in civil rights–Five years before this interview, he joined the historic March on Washington, D.C. with Martin Luther King, Jr. In this…

Debut Episode of Black Journal, 1968

staff | February 21, 2009

Running time: approximately 1 hour. The Origin of Black Journal From AL Perlmutter, the series’ first executive producer: July 17, 1967 – Riots in Newark were sparked by the arrest and alleged abuse by police of a black cab driver. The riots continued for five days. National Educational Television (NET) immediately commissioned a documentary that…

Black Journal in 1969

staff | February 20, 2009

This episode of “Black Journal,” one of the earliest black-produced newsmagazines on television, features: * A profile of L.A. grassroots empowerment organization Operation Bootstrap, including one of their components, a factory that produces black dolls and babydolls. * A skit about racial disharmony, featuring actor Antonio Fargas. * A segment on the challenges faced by…

Detroit’s Colored People’s Time, or CPT

staff | February 10, 2009

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…