Observing Black History Month: Special Programs

Feb 2, 2016

All through February, you’ll hear stories, features and music recognizing the history and contributions of African Americans. Among the programs we’re offering:

Tuesday, February 16: Pike County, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be

In a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American - despite the fact that they look white. Racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone’s choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there’s a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage. (NPR News service, 10-11 PM)

Saturday, February 20: Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio

Starting in the 1950s, Black radio became be one of the most important institutions in the Black community, not only in Philadelphia, but in cities across the U.S. Personalities with styles all their own played records never heard on mainstream radio. These stations were pipelines into the Black community and played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights Movement. You’ll hear first-person accounts of Civil Rights events and rare archival audio of Black radio from the 60s and 70s, including a 1964 interview with Malcolm X, just a few months before he was assassinated. The documentary also includes a soundtrack featuring R&B, jazz, gospel, and soul hits from the 50s through the 80s, especially from the Sound of Philadelphia. (NPR and Classical Music service, 5-6 PM)

Sunday, February 21: King’s Last March

Although it was one of the most challenging and controversial chapters of his career, the final year of King's life has not been the focus of significant public attention. This dramatic and illuminating documentary uses a rich mix of archival tape, oral histories and contemporary interviews to paint a vivid picture of what may have been the most difficult year of Dr. King's life. (NPR News service, 8-9 PM)

Sunday, February 7: Under Her Skin: Living With Breast Cancer

Over the last 30 years, researchers have found a widening survival divide between black and white women diagnosed with the disease. Under Her Skin gives a uniquely personal perspective on the survival gap and a new understanding of a disease that will afflict more than 12 percent of American women at some point in their lives. (NPR News service, 8-9 PM)

Sunday, February 7: I, Too, Sing America: Music In The Life Of Langston Hughes

An enduring icon of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes is best-known for his written work, which wedded his fierce dedication to social justice with his belief in the transformative power of the word. But he was a music lover, too, and some of the works he was most proud of were collaborations with composers and musicians. This program shines a light on Hughes's lesser-known musical compositions, diving into the songs, cantatas, musicals and librettos that flowed from Hughes’ pen. (NPR and Classical music service, 9-10 PM)