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 elected black public officials (including an interview with Shirley Chisholm).
* The words and music of singer Nina Simone, including a performance by Ms. Simone at Morehouse University.

It is one of two episodes of Black Journal nominated for a Peabody Award. It originally aired in 1969, and is hosted by Lou House and William Greaves.

Episode Segments:

* “Fire”: a short film, in which a white man tries to convince a black man (Antonio Fargas!) on the street to give him a pay phone to report an emergency: serves as a larger discussion about race relations.

Time: 7:05

* Operation Bootstrap: a feature on the grassroots, self-help organization in South Central L.A. –includes a sub-story on Bootstrap’s subsidiary Shindana Toys, a company that makes toys for black consumers.

Time: 23:41

* Elected Black Officials: a discussion of the issues facing American black officials who gathered at a conference in Washington DC Representatives Julian Bond, Shirley Chisholm and John Conyers are among those featured, with commentary by Columbia University’s Dr. Charles Hamilton.

Time: 42:36

* Nina Simone: The jazz and soul singer is interviewed and seen performing at Morehouse College, including “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.”

* “Nightcall”: A news story about the cancellation of this national call-in radio show about race relations.