Knowledge matters

To eradicate prejudice, you need to eradicate ignorance. Few do that better than PBS, whose programs enlighten, entertain and inspire. Recently, PBS announced that it is broadcasting a series of films and new specials focused on race in America following the murder of George Floyd on May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis police and the ensuing protests that erupted across the country. In addition to rebroadcasting and freely streaming films focused on African-American history by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (“Finding Your Roots”) and Stanley Nelson, PBS will also curate a playlist of programs from “Frontline,” “POV,” “Independent Lens” and other iconic series that explore the effect of racism on black Americans and the larger country.

“As a media system that serves every person in America, we stand with the black community, and we stand against racism and hate,” Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS said in a statement. “In the coming days and weeks, we will use our national reach and community presence to deepen understanding, foster conversation and enable meaningful change. And we will continue to stand behind our courageous journalists, whose unwavering commitment to speak truth to power is essential to the strength of our democracy.”

“America in Black and Blue 2020”(Monday, June 15, 9 p.m.) will report from across the country and include interviews with key leaders and participants in the struggle for racial justice, accountability and equity, as well as voices from law enforcement. It will update reporting from the original “America in Black and Blue,” which first aired in 2016, as well as “The Talk – Race in America.” Correspondents will report from Minneapolis, Georgia, New York and elsewher, and will feature interviews from “PBS Newshour Weekend,” “Amanpour and Company”  and other PBS national and local programs.

PBS and member stations are also rebroadcasting and/or streaming a full slate of films about the history of injustices within the African-American community. These include Gates’ “The African Americans:  Many Rivers to Cross,” a chronicle of African- American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable achievements; “Reconstruction:  America After the Civil War,” a four-part series that explores the transformative years when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss and African-Americans forged a new, more equal place in American social and political life, only to face the backlash of segregation and institutionalized disempowerment whose legacy persists today; and “Black America since MLK:  And Still I Rise,” a detailed exploration of how the civil rights movement affected the country, including successes and failures related to political and economic equality. 

PBS is also spotlighting Stanley Nelson’s award-winning “Independent Lens” film “The Black Panthers:  Vanguard of the Revolution,” a look at an earlier era of conflict and how the Black Panthers provided community services while advocating for more radical national change.

All films are available for streaming on station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will be available to view all episodes via Passport. (Contact your local PBS station for details).

In addition to the broadcasts, films from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson will be included as part of a special curated collection streaming free on PBS.org. The filmmakers will offer their insights into the events currently gripping the country and historical origins for greater context.  The programs below will also be included as part of the curated collection, with titles provided in association with Black Public Media.

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