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Black History Month on KERA

KERA is proud to offer the following programs and educational resources honoring Black History Month 2022.



Some TV programs are available to watch on-demand. Those with a blue compass icon  are available to watch on-demand via the KERA Passport member benefit. Learn more.


Ken Burns’ Muhammad Ali

“Round One: The Greatest” – Friday, January 28 at 8pm
“Round Two: What’s My Name” – Friday, February 4 at 8pm
“Round Three: The Rivalry” – Friday, February 11 at 8pm
“Round Four: The Spell Remains” – Friday, February 18 at 8pm

Muhammad Ali brings to life one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans across the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace, and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it. Ali insisted on being himself unconditionally and became a global icon and inspiration to people everywhere.



In Their Own Words| Chuck Berry

Tuesday, February 1 at 8pm

Take a riveting ride on the Chuck Berry train exploring the life, the legend, the music, and the man who is regularly credited as the father of rock and roll. We will meet the family who loved him, the players who were there for the rise, and the stars who bow to his inspiration and credit him for their own success.



Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson

Part I: Wednesday, February 2 at 10pm
Part II: Wednesday, February 9 at 10pm

Jack Roosevelt Robinson rose from humble origins to cross baseball’s color line and become one of the most beloved men in America. A fierce integrationist, Robinson used his immense fame to speak out against the discrimination he saw on and off the field, angering fans, the press, and even teammates who had once celebrated him for turning the other cheek.



American Experience | Freedom Riders

Thursday, February 3 at 10pm

Explore the story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South.



The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

Parts I & II: Sunday, February 6, starting at 12pm

In this intimate series from executive producer, host, and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., we trace how this came to be in the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, all the way down to its bedrock role as the site of African American survival and endurance, grace and resilience, thriving and testifying, freedom and independence, solidarity and speaking truth to power.

Host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., admires the mural at Church of God In Christ West Angeles. Credit: Courtesy of McGee Media


Is the “American Dream” of homeownership a false promise? 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.



American Masters | Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands

Tuesday, February 8 at 8pm

With unprecedented access to the Marian Anderson Estate, the documentary draws on rare archival footage and audio recordings and Anderson’s extensive personal correspondence to family and friends, including Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, Duke Ellington, Shirley Chisholm and Langston Hughes, to reveal the woman behind the icon. Anchored by key performances in her career, Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands shows how her quiet genius and breathtaking voice set the stage for black performers in classical music, and a louder voice for civil rights.

Marian Anderson

Opera singer Marian Anderson stands in front of the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., the site of her memorable Easter Sunday concert in 1939. Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo


Through the Banks of the Red Cedar

Tuesday, February 8 at 11pm

In 1963 Michigan State Head Coach Duffy Daugherty and 23 African American young men seized the opportunity of a lifetime. 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. Maya, Gene’s youngest daughter, traces her father’s journey from the segregated South to the North and explores the impact of this legacy on the present generation.

Gen Washington Big Ten Championship

Gene Washington takes in the Big Ten Championship. Credit: Through the Banks of the Red Cedar


American Masters | Tony Morrison: The Pieces I am 

Thursday, February 10 at 10pm

Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers and critics on an exploration of the powerful themes she confronted throughout her literary career in this artful and intimate meditation that examines the life and work of the legendary storyteller.



American Masters | Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away

Monday, February 14 at 10:30pm

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. Featuring new performances and interviews with Carlos Santana and more



FRONTLINE| American Reckoning

Tuesday, February 15 at 9pm

FRONTLINE and Retro Report tell the story of the 1967 killing of Wharlest Jackson Sr., a local NAACP leader in Natchez, Mississippi. The documentary follows Jackson’s family as they search for the truth about what happened and examines the history of white supremacy in Natchez. It is part of FRONTLINE’s multiplatform Un(re)solved initiative.



Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Part I: Wednesday, February 16 at 10pm
Part II: Wednesday, February 23 at 10pm

Jack Johnson became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion in the height of the Jim Crow era — a time in which slavery was abolished, but African Americans were not yet truly free.


American Masters | Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Thursday, February 17 at 10pm

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.



Slavery By Another Name

Sunday, February 20 at 2pm

Explore the little-known story of the labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South that persisted into the 20th century. Laurence Fishburne narrates.



American Masters | How it Feels to be Free

Sunday, February 20 at 4pm

The inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.



Independent Lens | Mr. SOUL!

Monday, February 21 at 10:30pm

Premiering in 1968, SOUL! was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, merging artists from the margins with post-Civil Rights Black radical thought. Mr. SOUL! delves into this critical moment in television history, as well as the man who guided it, highlighting a turning point in representation whose impact continues to resonate to this day.



Fanny Lou Hamer’s America: An America ReFramed Special

Tuesday, February 22 at 8pm

Explore and celebrate the life of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist paint a moving portrait of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest leaders.

FANNIE LOU HAMER — Fannie Lou Hamer’s America. Credit:


Bird: Out of Nowhere

Thursday, February 24 at 10pm

Celebrate the life of Charlie “Bird” Parker and his lasting legacy on the Kansas City jazz scene. Bird: Not Out of Nowhere features rarely seen archival footage of Parker, interviews with musicians and historians, and live performances from Kansas City’s most talented jazz musicians.



Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening

Thursday, February 24 at 11pm

Witness the amazing story of the first Black superstar. Baker, born into poverty in Missouri in 1906, moved to France where she became a dancer hailed as the Queen of Paris, joined the French Resistance, created her dream family “The Rainbow Tribe,” adopting twelve children from four corners of the world, and ultimately became a Civil Rights activist.

Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening. Credit: Copyright Murray Korman – photo collection Bryan Hammond


American Masters | Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Friday, February 25 at 8pm

Discover the man behind the legend. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews. 



The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Parts 1-6: Sunday, February 27, starting at 11am

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking six-part series. Written and presented by Professor Gates, the series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed.





It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders

Saturday, February 5 at 11am

There were two big music festivals happening in the summer of 1969. But while one lived in infamy, going on to define an entire generation of culture and music…the other remained obscure. That is, until last year when Questlove released his documentary Summer of Soul. Host Sam Sanders talks with musician and director Questlove about the making of Summer of Soul. They discuss how Black history is remembered– or forgotten– in the archive.




▸ Explore the journey and contributions of Black Americans with these documentaries and episodes curated by PBS and KERA.

▸ Stay informed on race in current events with KERA News’ coverage

▸ For teachers and parents — access KERA’s education resource toolkit on protests, race and African American history

▸ PBS also has a collection of resources to help parents discuss race and racism with children

▸ Go to to watch more documentaries and series