Black History Month Programming in February On PBS SoCal and KCET Celebrates Moments, Memories and People In Black History That Inspire

AMERICAN MASTERS – Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands and Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, An AMERICA REFRAMED Special.

PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s flagship PBS stations as well as the home for award-winning, original local content, announced today a robust Black History Month programming slate with over 30 programs dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of racial history in America. Both stations will showcase a curated lineup of enlightening diverse programs and digital content exploring Black History Month and the experience of Black Americans in February. The lineup features 17 all-new programs from popular national PBS series that include INDEPENDENT LENS, FINDING YOUR ROOTS, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and AMERICAN MASTERS as well as local, original content from Emmy® winning series such as BROKEN BREAD and THE MIGRANT KITCHEN.

The Black History Month lineup of programs is an effort to actively promote a more inclusive and equitable future for all, reinforcing both KCET and PBS SoCal’s commitment to serving a diverse community. Programs featuring well-known trailblazers like Jesse Owens, Nina Simone, Muhammad Ali, Cynthia Erivo, and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as Marian Anderson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Jerry Lawson, John Lewis, Buddy Guy and Irma Thomas will run throughout the month of February dedicated to highlighting diverse voices and historic moments.

AMERICAN MASTERS – Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands explores the life, career, art and legacy of the singer of classical music and spirituals. Best known for her performance at the legendary Freedom Concert in 1939, Anderson, in a bold protest against racial intolerance, sang before a diverse crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after being denied use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Premieres Tues., Feb 8 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The American Diplomat” tells the story of the fight for inclusion in American diplomacy through the lives of three African American ambassadors tasked with representing the best of American ideals abroad, while facing discrimination at home. Each would push past racial barriers to high-ranking appointments and create a lasting impact on the content and character of the Foreign Service. Premieres Tues., Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America: An AMERICA REFRAMED Special is a portrait of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer’s 1964 Congressional testimony was so powerful that President Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get her off the air and was compelling enough for many evening news programs to broadcast it, incidentally granting it a much larger audience. Hamer held the committee’s attention as she spoke from memory about her eviction from the Marlow plantation and her brutal beating in the Winona jail. Premieres Tues., Feb. 22. at 8 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal.

KCET’s “Houston” episode from fourth season of the locally produced, Emmy®-winning food series THE MIGRANT KITCHEN takes a look at Soul Food, which has long been a polarizing stereotype and limited conversation about the resiliency of the Black identity. The new season of the series produced in partnership with Life & Thyme goes beyond Los Angeles, where chefs Chris Williams of the renowned Lucille’s and Jonny Rhodes of Indigo are on a mission to empower the Black community of Texas through entrepreneurialism, fighting agricultural oppression and uplifting African American foodways. Premieres Tues., Feb. 15 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET.

Another KCET Original series (co-produced by Tastemade), BROKEN BREAD, follows Chef Roy Choi as he explores complex social justice issues through the lens of food. For the episode “Owning the Block” – Roy heads to Los Angeles’ Leimert Park community with legendary artist and activist Chuck D, exploring local businesses with artist Six Sev and meets with elders to find out how a neighborhood so rich in food, art, music and culture can counteract the forces of gentrification in the community. Premieres Tues., Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on KCET.

With original, local content, KCET and PBS SoCal produce programs dedicated to a richer and more authentic experience telling the stories of the local Black community in Southern California. February’s schedule also includes a variety of episodes of the locally-produced SOUTHLAND SESSIONS which helped residents in the region connect across communities when attending in-person, cultural events was not an option over the past few years. These original programs are available to stream at kcet.org and pbssocal.org as well as on the free PBS Video App.

PBS is airing award-winning content to stations across the country including highlighting groundbreaking Black icons such as “IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Chuck Berry,” AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Jesse Owens,” “IRMA: My Life in Music” and several episodes of the Ken Burns miniseries “Ali.” Viewers can expect additional relevant programming options from popular PBS series that include FRONTLINE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, AMERICAN MASTERS, INDEPENDENT LENS, and three all-new episodes of FINDING YOUR ROOTS hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that highlight prolific black actors Leslie Odom Jr, Lena Waithe and Terry Crews. Finally, to round out the month, PBS SoCal will host an 8-hour marathon of the critically acclaimed THE AFRICAN AMERICANS “MANY RIVERS TO CROSS” on Sat., Feb. 26 at 1 p.m.

Select content slated to air during the next month is listed as follows (*schedule subject to change):

IN THEIR OWN WORDS “Chuck Berry”- Tues., Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. on KCET
Take a riveting ride on the Chuck Berry train, exploring the life of the man behind the music. By blending “hillbilly” music with R&B and writing impactful lyrics, Berry birthed a renaissance in popular music we now call rock and roll.

SOUTHLAND SESSIONS “Watts Towers Festivals”- Wed., Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. on KCET
Highlights from the Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum and Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festivals. With performances from master musicians including Dwight Trible, Kahlil El’Zabar, Rosie Lee Hooks and many more artists.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Jesse Owens”- Thurs., Feb. 3 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal
The story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion.

MUHAMMAD ALI “Round Two: What’s My Name?”- Fri., Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal
Cassius Clay publicly joins the Nation of Islam and takes the name Muhammad Ali. When he refuses induction into the Army, he is stripped of his title and forced into exile.

THROUGH THE BANKS OF THE RED CEDAR – Sun., Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. on KCET and Fri., Feb. 11 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
In 1963 Michigan State Head Coach Duffy Daugherty gave 23 African American young men the opportunity of a lifetime. Now, the daughter of Minnesota Vikings football legend Gene Washington deepens her connection to her father as she uncovers how the first fully integrated college football team in America changed the game forever.

INDEPENDENT LENS “A Tale of Two Americas”- Mon., Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Feb. 12 at 11 p.m. – All New!
Exposé on how the American housing policy market has been manipulated for years in discriminatory ways. While the government’s postwar housing policy created the world’s largest middle class, it also set America on two divergent paths – one of perceived wealth and the other of systematically defunded, segregated communities.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS “Fighters” – Tues., Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
Features actor Terry Crews.

AMERICAN MASTERS – Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands – Tues., Feb. 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. on KCET – All New!
Best known for her performance at the legendary Freedom Concert on April 9, 1939, Anderson, in a bold protest against racial intolerance, sang before a diverse crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after being denied use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

IRMA: “My Life in Music”- Tues., Feb. 8 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Wed., Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. on KCET
– All New!
A 90-minute documentary about the “Soul Queen of New Orleans.” Although Irma Thomas didn’t experience the same kind of commercial success as her contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, her impact on R&B music is just as great. The program features archival concert and interview footage culled from decades of performances filmed at The New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival.

SOUTHLAND SESSIONS “Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra N.Y.E.L.A.”- Wed., Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on KCET
A New Year’s Eve musical celebration in downtown LA’s Grand Park honors the work of jazz music in Los Angeles from Mekala Session and the “Ark.”

MUHAMMAD ALI “Round Three: The Rivalry” – Fri., Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal
Muhammad Ali battles his fiercest rival, Joe Frazier, and the U.S. government, as he attempts to regain the heavyweight title. He first loses to and then defeats Frazier, but to become champion again, he will have to beat George Foreman.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS “Incredible Journeys” – Tues., Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
Features actress and filmmaker Lena Waithe.

THE MIGRANT KITCHEN “Houston”- Tues., Feb. 15 at 8:30 p.m. on KCET and Mon., Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal– All New!
Soul food has long been a polarizing stereotype and limited conversation about the resiliency of the Black identity. In Houston, Texas, chefs Chris Williams of the renowned Lucille’s and Jonny Rhodes of Indigo are on a mission to empower the Black community of Texas through entrepreneurialism, fighting agricultural oppression and uplifting African American foodways.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The American Diplomat” – Tues., Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. on KCET – All New!
The fight for inclusion in American diplomacy through the lives of three African American ambassadors tasked with representing the best of American ideals abroad while facing discrimination at home. Each would push past racial barriers to high-ranking appointments and create a lasting impact on the content and character of the Foreign Service.

FRONTLINE “American Reckoning” – Tues., Feb. 15 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
“American Reckoning” probes the story of one of the cases on the Till Act list: the killing of NAACP leader Wharlest Jackson in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1967. The film follows Jackson’s family as they search for the truth about what happened and examines the history of white supremacy in Natchez.

SOUTHLAND SESSIONS “Barbara Morrison: Standing On Their Shoulders”- Sat., Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. on KCET
Grammy nominee Barbara Morrison’s musical tribute to the iconic jazz and blues singers, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, and the songs they popularized in an intimate concert filmed at Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

LEDISI LIVE “A Tribute to Nina Simone”- Sat., Feb. 16 at 10 p.m. on KCET– All New!
Join the powerhouse vocalist Ledisi as she celebrates the songs of the legendary singer, songwriter and activist Nina Simone. Performances include “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” “Four Women,” “I Put a Spell on You” and “Trouble in Mind.”

MUHAMMAD ALI “Round Four: The Spell Remains” – Fri., Feb. 18 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal
Muhammad Ali shocks the world by defeating George Foreman, winning back the heavyweight title and becoming the most famous man on earth. After retiring in 1981, he travels the world spreading his Islamic faith and becomes a symbol of peace and hope.

AMERICAN MASTERS “Sammy Davis Jr.” – Sun., Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. on PBS SoCal
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.

BEYOND THE BATON: A Conductor’s Journey – Sun. Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. on KCET – All New!
The television biography of conductor Thomas Wilkins, music director of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra & the first African American in the history of the Boston Symphony to hold a conducting position. Wilkins celebrates the 100th birthday of the Omaha Symphony with a powerful concert where “music still flourishes & beauty gets to have the last word even during a pandemic.

BROKEN BREAD “Owning the Block” – Tues., Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on KCET – All New!
Roy breaks bread in Leimert Park with legendary artist and activist Chuck D, explores local businesses like Simply Wholesome and Harun Coffee with artist Six Sev and meets with elders to find out how a neighborhood so rich in food, art, music and culture can counteract the forces of gentrification in the community.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS “Songs of the Past” – Tues., Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
Features vocalist, author and actor Leslie Odom, Jr.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America: An AMERICA REFRAMED Special – Tues., Feb. 22. at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. on KCET – All New!
A portrait of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist Fannie Lou Hamer whose 1964 Congressional testimony was so powerful that President Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get her off the air.

JUST A MORTAL MAN: THE JERRY LAWSON STORY – Tues., Feb. 22. at 10:30 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal – All New!
A documentary about the founder and original lead singer of the legendary a cappella group The Persuasions.

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER: “Cynthia Erivo in Concert” – Wed., Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. on KCET
Enjoy a soulful evening of song from one of Broadway’s brightest stars. Seamlessly making the transition from the stage to the big screen, British-born Cynthia Erivo won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Color Purple before starring in several films.

THE AFRICAN AMERICANS “MANY RIVERS TO CROSS” 8-Hour Marathon – Sat., Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. on PBS SoCal
This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.

JOHN LEWIS – Get in the Way – Sat., Feb. 26 at 10:30 p.m. on KCET
Follow the journey of civil rights hero, congressman and human rights champion John Lewis. At the Selma March, Lewis came face-to-face with club-wielding troopers and exemplified non-violence.

SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME – Sun., Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
The 90-minute documentary challenges the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality.

HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., UNCOVERING AMERICA – Mon., Feb. 28 at 9:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal
A celebration of the renowned cultural historian’s work, the film celebrates the life and work of the Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker and literary scholar. A leading figure in American cultural life and one of its most renowned, respected and popular cultural historians and personalities, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has authored or co-authored 22 books and created 18 documentary films.

BUDDY GUY: TRUE TO THE BLUES – Sun., Feb. 28 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal – All New!
Dive into the career of the legendary blues guitarist, a pioneer of Chicago’s West Side sound and major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

These shows and more are available to stream on the free PBS Video App.

Reinforcing both KCET and PBS SoCal’s commitment to sharing diverse and inclusive stories, the organizations will continue to roll out additional digital content at kcet.org/BlackHistoryMonth and pbssocal.org/BlackHistoryMonth exploring the impact of Black History Month and the Black experience in America.

For a full schedule of Black History Month programming, please visit pbssocal.org and kcet.org.

Join the conversation on social media by tagging #BlackHistoryMonth

About PBS SOCAL and KCET
PBS SoCal and KCET are both part of the donor-supported community institution, the Public Media Group of Southern California, which was formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group. PBS SoCal is the flagship PBS station for diverse people across California and delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and educate. PBS SoCal offers the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; as well as educational content including PBS KIDS programs including DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and CURIOUS GEORGE. KCET is on-air, online and in the community, and plays a vital role in the cultural enrichment of Southern California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions and its website, kcet.org. For additional information about both KCET and PBS SoCal productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org and pbssocal.org KCET Originals and PBS programming are available to stream on the FREE PBS App on iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Chromecast. KCET is also available to watch live on YouTube TV, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit kcet.org/apps.