In celebration of Black History Month and as part of its year-round commitment to diverse programming, KTWU/PBS has announced an on-air lineup commemorating the contributions of African Americans in music, dance, television and civil rights, providing an in-depth look at key figures and events that shaped black — and American — history. In addition to these programs, PBS announced it will launch the PBS Black Culture Connection, a digital storybook of black films, history, trends and discussion that’s available throughout the year on PBS.org, on February 1, 2013.
“PBS’ mission is clear — to provide accessible, educational, informative programs of every genre and culture all year long. Since February is Black History Month, our schedule is heavily focused on the contributions of African Americans,” said Donald Thoms, Vice President, Programming. “During the month, we are also continuing our commitment to feature stories and films from diverse and independent producers, which remains a staple of our content offerings year round.”
The PBS Black Culture Connection, featuring video from films, award-winning documentaries and popular series like AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, will link the diverse national content found on PBS with local programs, interviews and discussions from PBS member stations and from around the web. In addition to aggregating more than 100 digital resources about black history and culture in one place within PBS.org, the PBS Black Culture Connection will feature thematic film collections, biographies and profiles, original productions made just for the web and local station spotlights. After exploring the site, users are encouraged to connect with others through online discussion and to challenge themselves with a suite of quizzes.
“The PBS Black Culture Connection is a digital resource that unites a diverse collection of films and other content across PBS. It’s a screening room for award-winning documentaries and films, a forum to engage in meaningful discussions, and a library to explore hundreds of videos, articles, quizzes and resources like historical maps and timelines,” said Jason Seiken, PBS SVP and General Manager, Digital.
Highlights of the Black History Month programming lineup are included below. Most films listed will also be available via streaming video on the PBS Black Culture Connection.
LIFECASTERS, Friday, February 8, 2013, 1 a.m., unites fiction and documentary filmmakers to tell stories of Americans who use their strength, creativity and determination to reach their goals — a bit later in life. In one segment, Oscar-nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert observe African-American dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, one of the oldest female professional dancers still practicing in the U.S.
In AMERICAN MASTERS “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll,” premiering Friday, February 22, 2013, 8 p.m., discover the life, music and influence of African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973). Southern-born, Chicago-raised and New York-made, “She could play the guitar like nobody else … nobody.” During the 1940s-60s, Sister Rosetta introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of rock ’n’ roll, inspiring the male icons of the genre. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Tharpe may not be a household name today, but the flamboyant superstar, with her spectacular playing on the newly electrified guitar, had a major influence on black musicians, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, and also on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
In MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a PBS film about the modern American Women’s Movement, premiering Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 7 p.m., one segment explores stories of how 1960s Civil Rights leaders helped inspire the pioneers of the modern American Women’s Movement. MAKERS details how the parallel movements steadily made gains after initially being cast together with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In addition, the film tells the stories of many groundbreaking African-American women, such as Barbara Smith, who started Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press to give women inroads into publishing, civil rights activist Diane Nash, and Yale-educated lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton, a civil rights veteran who now serves in the House of Representatives.
Other series that routinely cover topics and profile guests and performers of particular interest to African Americans include FRONTLINE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, PBS NEWSHOUR, NEED TO KNOW, and WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL.
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches 124 million people through television and 20 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org.
Broadcasting local public television for over 45 years, KTWU reaches viewers in eastern Kansas and portions of Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma. KTWU offers five digital destinations for unique content: KTWU (PBS) in High Definition on Channel 11.1; KTWU/MHz Worldview on Channel 11.2; KTWU ENHANCE on Channel 11.3; KTWU.org, online; and KTWU MOBILE TV. KTWU is licensed to Washburn University and was the first public television station in the state of Kansas to begin broadcasting educational programming.
For more information on KTWU-TV, visit the online site at ktwu.org.
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