Independent Lens to Present Black History Month Programming on PBS
In celebration of Black History Month, Independent Lens, the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series, today announced programming available during the month of February that highlights the African American experience. The films feature unsung heroes of the civil rights era, African Americans who have left an indelible mark on the arts and music scene, and those who are redefining the African American experience.
"Independent Lens has a rich history of showcasing contemporary and historical stories that illuminate and celebrate the African American experience," said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens senior series producer. "This month we're pleased to present the broadcast premiere of The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights, and stream a remarkable selection of past Independent Lens programs that commemorate the Unforgettable stories of black Americans. On air and online, these programs allow viewers to better understand our diverse society."
The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights, a new documentary about one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders of the civil right era, premieres on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, February 18, at 10 PM ET on PBS (check local listings). Narrated by Alfre Woodard, The Powerbroker follows Young's journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League.
During the 1960s, as the executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney Young was one of the few African Americans who had the ear of those who controlled the levers of power: Fortune 500 CEOs, governors, senators, and presidents. He used these relationships to gain better access to employment, education, housing, and healthcare for African Americans, other minorities, and those in need. His unique position and approach earned him praise, but also scorn from the Black Power movement for being too close to the white establishment. While he is less known today than other leaders of the era because of the behind-the-scenes Nature of his work, Young's legacy and influence are still felt profoundly. The Powerbroker is a production of Bluegate. The executive producer is Bonnie Boswell and the film is produced by Boswell, Christine Khalafian, and Taylor Hamilton. The co-producer is Jordan Melograna.
In addition to The Powerbroker, The Following Independent Lens films are available for streaming on PBS.org during the month of February: When I Rise (February 4-10), tells the inspiring story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted black mezzo-soprano who found herself in a civil rights storm that changed her life forever; Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene (February 11-17), chronicles the life and times of America's first shock jock, a man who spoke the truth to people in power and influenced a new generation of broadcast personalities; Daisy Bates (February 18-24) profiles a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957; The Powerbroker (February 19-March 4) is a portrait of civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr.; More Than a Month (February 25-March 3) follows filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman's provocative cross-country campaign to end Black History Month, as he questions whether relegating African American history to the shortest month of the year and separating it from the rest of American history denigrates the role of black people and black culture.