News About WFPL

Black History Month begins Tuesday. All month long we’ll celebrate Black excellence and share stories of the Black experience. We’ll remember two beloved American writers who have passed on, explore the connection between the arts and the civil rights movement, and hear interviews with people who were present during key moments in the story of Black America. We hope you’ll listen with us.

Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.: ‘Selected Shorts: Celebrating Toni Morrison’

Host Tayari Jones helps us to celebrate Toni Morrison, the American master who died in 2019. Morrison’s novels include “Beloved,” “Jazz” and “Song of Solomon.” Her fierce, poetic visions earned her the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A photo collage featuring Tayari Jones, Anika Noni Rose, S. Epatha Merkerson, Phylicia Rashad and Toni Morrison. Selected Shorts

Pictured: Tayari Jones (top left), Anika Noni Rose (bottom left), S. Epatha Merkerson (top right), Phylicia Rashad (bottom right) and Toni Morrison (center).

This program features performances of Morrison’s works by friends, colleagues, and admirers, including her essay “A Knowing So Deep” read by Jones, an excerpt from “The Bluest Eye” performed by Anika Noni Rose, an excerpt from “Jazz” performed by S. Epatha Merkerson and “Sweetness” performed by Phylicia Rashad. We’ll also hear a tribute from writer Fran Lebowitz, who says that Morrison was “two of my four best friends.”

Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7 pm.: ‘Witness: Black History Month’

A special hour-long edition of Witness History from the BBC World Service, bringing together some incredible interviews looking at the Black experience. Topics include: the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, American news pioneer Dorothy Butler Gilliam, Nelson Mandela in Detroit, NASA’s pioneering black women, the “Godfather of Gospel Music” and what the Confederate flag represents in America’s battle over race.

Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.:  ‘MLK – Activism and the Arts’

WNYC and The Apollo present WNYC’s 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, “MLK – Activism and the Arts.” The discussion focuses on how Dr. King leveraged the influence of artists in the civil rights movement and how that legacy of activism in the arts continues today. “The Takeaway” host Melissa Harris-Perry moderates.

Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.: ‘Remembering bell hooks’

bell hooks book covers - "Ain't I A Woman," "Feminist Theory from Margin to Center," and "Feminism is for Everybody"Pluto Press

Author, activist and cultural icon bell hooks died in December. Her work includes  “Bone Black,” “All About Love” and “Ain’t I A Woman.” hooks was a native Kentuckian and taught at Berea College for more than a decade. Friends and admirers, including Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson, share intimate stories about hooks and talk about her work.