PBS programs celebrate Black history

To honor Black History Month, and as part of its commitment to celebrate the diversity of America year-round, PBS presents documentaries and specials that highlight the African-American experience.

New offerings reflect on the contributions of icons like the late Maya Angelou, applaud beloved artists like Smokey Robinson and showcase independent documentaries about the valiant efforts of those pushing for change. Programs include:

  • “Austin City Limits: CeCe Winans/St. Paul & The Broken Bones,” Saturday, Feb. 4, 8 p.m. – Gospel star CeCe Winans and breakout sensations St. Paul & the Broken Bones perform.
  • • “Mercy Street,” Season 2, Sundays, Feb. 5-19, 7 p.m. – Follows the story of doctors, nurses, laborers and Southern loyalists in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va., during the Civil War.
  • “Independent Lens: “Birth of a Movement,” Monday, Feb. 6, 9 p.m. ET – D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” unleashed a battle still being waged today over race relations. Features Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and others.
  • “Smokey Robinson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,”
    Friday, Feb. 10, 8 p.m. – Samuel L. Jackson hosts an all-star tribute to singer/songwriter Robinson, with an appearance by Motown founder Berry Gordy.
  • “Independent Lens: Accidental Courtesy,” Monday, Feb. 13, 9 p.m. – African-American musician Daryl Davis befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds and forge racial conciliation.
  • “The Talk: Race in America,” Monday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m. – Black and Hispanic families counsel their kids on staying safe if they are stopped by the police.
  • “American Masters: Maya Angelou – And Still I Rise,” Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. – The author, poet, entertainer and activist is profiled, with interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Common and the Clintons.
  • “Austin City Limits: Kendrick Lamar,” Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m. – Experience an hour of contemporary hip-hop from Grammy-nominated Lamar.
  • “Africa’s Great Civilizations,” Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 27-March 1, 8 p.m. – The documentary series with Henry Louis Gates features epic stories of African kingdoms and cultures.

In addition to scheduled programming, PBS will air shows in February with the times and dates to be announced. They include profiles of the Black Panthers, writer/activist Alice Walker, blues great B.B. King and the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

Visit pbs.org for more information.