Eight celebrates Black History Month with new programming and online content, beginning Feb. 3

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Mark Becker

"Independent Lens" features "Crossroads" by Hank Willis Thomas during its premiere of "Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People." Image courtesy of Hank Willis Thomas.

PHOENIX – (Jan. 15, 2015) Eight, Arizona PBS will honor Black History Month with a lineup of new programs and online content celebrating the contributions of African Americans who helped shape the nation, beginning Feb 3 at 7 p.m.

Eight presents a month-long lineup of programs featuring the triumphs, challenges and impact blacks have had on American culture as part of its year-long commitment to diverse programming.

This year’s Black History Month celebration on Eight will include in-depth profiles of African American leaders, an inspiring documentary that uses photography to explore the evolution of African American society and a special episode of “Antiques Roadshow” that focuses on the rich past of blacks in America. Eight will also share surprising stories of African American families on “Genealogy Roadshow.”

 “The programs we feature for Black History Month tell the detailed accounts of historical figures and items that influenced America,” says Nancy Southgate, associate general manager of content for Eight, “We’re pleased to bring more educational and fascinating stories that connect viewers to African American history.”

The full Black History Month programming lineup includes:

Antiques Roadshow – “Celebrating Black Americana”
Monday, February 9, at 8 p.m. – NEW
Antiques Roadshow honors Black History Month by highlighting an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color; an African American beauty book written by Madam C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire; and a trip with host Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Leila Dunbar to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Independent Lens – “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People”
Monday, February 16, at 11 p.m. – NEW
The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” probes the recesses of American history through images that have been suppressed, forgotten and lost. Bringing to light the hidden and unknown photos shot by both professional and vernacular African American photographers, the film opens a window into the lives of black families, whose experiences and perspectives are often missing from the traditional historical canon. These images show a much more complex and nuanced view of American culture and society and its founding ideals.

Independent Lens – “American Denial”
Monday, February 23, at 11 p.m. – NEW
“American Denial” uses the story of Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 investigation of Jim Crow racism as a springboard to explore the power of unconscious biases and how the ideals of liberty, equality and justice still affect notions of race and class today. By Llewellyn Smith.

American Masters – “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand”
Friday, February 20, at 8 p.m. – NEW
From his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway, this program captures the legacy of the man some call America's Shakespeare. Film and theater luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, Charles Dutton and others share their stories of his career and the experience of bringing Wilson's rich theatrical voice to the stage. This film tells of his journey to the Great White Way and the triumphs and struggles along the path to such seminal works as the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Piano Lesson” and others before his death in 2005.

The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston
Friday, February 20, at 9:30 p.m. Writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, a celebrated and controversial figure of the Harlem Renaissance, first rose to prominence with “Mules and Men” and cemented her reputation with her 1937 masterwork, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” However, few know about the woman behind this widely read and highly acclaimed novel. This film delves into the writer's life, work and philosophies, concentrating on her very productive but often overlooked final decade. Interviews with Hurston experts and colleagues, letters from Hurston and archival photographs piece together this fascinating chapter in the life of an American literary icon.

Genealogy Roadshow – “New Orleans – Board of Trade”
Tuesday, February 3, at 7 p.m. – NEW
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the New Orleans Board of Trade. A local man seeks to recover essential history washed away in Hurricane Katrina; a woman discovers she has links to both sides of the Civil War; another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption; and one man explores a link to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

Genealogy Roadshow – “St. Louis – Union Station”
Tuesday, February 10, at 7 p.m. – NEW
At St. Louis’ historic Union Station, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from across Missouri. A musician hopes to find connections to a famous St. Louis jazz composer; two sisters explore links to a survivor of the legendary Donner Party; an Italian-American woman finds out if she is related to Italian royalty; and a schoolteacher who has all the answers for her students has very few about her own past.

Genealogy Roadshow – “Philadelphia – Historical Society of Pennsylvania”
Tuesday, February 17, at 7 p.m. – NEW
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. One woman’s ancestor may have sparked historic labor laws; a pastor may have an outlaw in her family tree; a woman learns about slave genealogy and, with the help of DNA testing, gets the answer she has waited for; and another woman learns her ancestor may have helped others escape the Holocaust.

Classroom Resources on PBS LearningMedia
PBS LearningMedia – PBS’ destination for educators and students – offers a range of curriculum-targeted resources that support lessons on black history and spotlight the leaders, thinkers and innovators that helped shape our nation’s history. Through discussion questions, worksheets, videos and digitized primary sources, PBS LearningMedia helps teachers to promote inquiry in their classrooms and strengthen students’ personal connection to black history and culture. For more information on the latest digital resources for classroom instruction, please visit pbslearningmedia.org.

The following is a sample of the more than 30 programs available for online streaming on the PBS Black Culture Connection in February:

Endeavour Watch Party

“Endeavour” Season 9 Watch Party!

Birdwatching Across Arizona
airs June 7

Birdwatching Across Arizona

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

National Memorial Day Concert image
aired May 28

National Memorial Day Concert

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