WFPL will air special programming on Wednesdays and Thursdays in February to commemorate Black History Month. From historical pieces looking at moments in the Civil Rights movement to an hour-long special about pop icon Beyoncé, here’s what’s on tap:
Wednesday, February 12 at 8 p.m.: Ida B. Wells’ Battle To Uncover The Truth
“Born to enslaved parents on a Mississippi plantation during the Civil War, Ida B. Wells emerged as a powerful investigative journalist. She overcame death threats and published widely in her quest to document the domestic terrorism against African Americans that came to be known as lynching. Ida Wells published the first major study of that crime. A close associate of Frederick Douglass, she helped to found the NAACP and advocated the right to vote for women and black Americans. Her amazing life story is finally gaining recognition, nearly 90 years after her death. Among those heard: NY Times correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the “1619 Project” on the history of enslaved peoples in America; Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, which in 2018 established the first national memorial to victims of lynching; Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings, principal biographer of Ida B. Wells; David Blight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom’ and Yale historian. Includes readings from Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass.”
Thursday, February 13 at 8 p.m.: Making Beyoncé
“Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is a media mogul. A philanthropist. A feminist hero. But before the Grammys, the platinum records and Destiny’s Child, there was just a shy girl growing up in Houston. In this hour-long special, we’ll hear from many of the people instrumental in the very beginning of her career as we follow Beyoncé from the stages of local talent shows to her first crack at a record deal with the group Girls Tyme.”
Wednesday, February 19 at 8 p.m.: Say It Loud: Great Speeches On Civil Rights And African American Identity
“‘Say It Loud’ traces the last 50 years of black history through stirring, historically important speeches by African Americans from across the political spectrum. The documentary illuminates tidal changes in African American political power and questions of black identity through the speeches of deeply influential black Americans. With recordings unearthed from libraries and sound archives, and made widely available here for the first time, Say It Loud includes landmark speeches by Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., James Cone, Toni Morrison, Colin Powell, and many others.”
Thursday, February 20 at 8 p.m.: Bayard Rustin: Who Is This Man?
“MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech has become the shorthand of the Civil Rights Movement – but we might never have heard it, if it were not for another man, who’s largely been forgotten by history: Bayard Rustin. In this program hour, we explore the life and legacy of Mr. Rustin, a black, gay, Quaker who brought Gandhian non-violent protest to the Civil Rights movement in America.”
Wednesday, February 26 at 8 p.m.: “On Being” With Krista Tippett: Ruby Sales
“Where does it hurt? That’s a question the civil rights icon Ruby Sales learned to ask during the days of that movement. It’s a question we scarcely know how to ask in public life now, but it gets at human dynamics that we are living and reckoning with. At a convening of 20 theologians seeking to reimagine the public good of theology for this century, Ruby Sales unsettles some of what we think we know about the force of religion in civil rights history, and names a “spiritual crisis of white America” as a calling of this time.”
Thursday, February 27 at 8 p.m.: The Power Of African American Art
“State of the Re:Union has made it an annual tradition to commemorate Black History Month with a special episode exploring lesser known corners of African-American history. This year, State of the Re:Union recognizes Black History Month through the lens of African-American art, the role it has played in social movements and everyday life, and why it matters both to the black community and the United States as a whole. From a poem celebrating Nina Simone and her powerful voice for social change, to the story of the surprising event that sparked the hip-hop cultural revolution, to unsung heroes of the culinary arts, SOTRU provides a rich hour of art as a window into African-American history, and how communities have been transformed by it.”
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