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February 2014 on WORLD: Black History Month Programming

In February, WORLD will honor Black History Month with a month-long of themed programming: 

Feb 2, 2014 at 9pm: African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross—The Black Atlantic
The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented '20-and-odd' slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on these shores. But the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would soon become a vast empire connecting three continents. Through stories of individuals caught in its web, like a ten-year-old girl named Priscilla who was transported from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in the mid-18th century, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South. The late 18th century saw a global explosion of freedom movements, and The Black Atlantic examines what that Era of Revolutions-American, French and Haitian-would mean for African Americans, and for slavery in America.

Feb 3, 2014 at 8pm: AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange—Stories from Lakka Beach 
After the civil war in Sierra Leone, many visitors now stay away from the picturesque beach village of Lakka. Five villagers share their stories of life on the ocean, of living off the land, and of war, love and religion as they try to convince tourists to visit a nation still healing from a devastating war.

Feb 5, 2014 at 7pm: POV: American Promise 
This film spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y.., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys' divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan's Dalton School, this documentary presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

Feb 7, 2014 at 9pm: The Education of Harvey Gantt
Even after the Supreme Court decided the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, South Carolina's General Assembly passed numerous acts designed to maintain segregation in the state's schools, parks and other public facilities. In his 1959 inaugural address, newly elected Governor Fritz Hollings declared he would not integrate South Carolina schools. In fact, South Carolina held firm to its segregationist stance through 1962, despite every other state integrating at least one of its colleges and universities. When South Carolina's institutions of higher learning finally opened their doors to African Americans in 1963, they did so in a systematic, nonviolent manner. Unlike Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, where desegregation efforts met with hostility and even bloodshed, South Carolina integrated its public colleges and universities peacefully. On January 28, 1963, a young black man from Charleston named Harvey Gantt enrolled at Clemson College, making him the first African American accepted to a white school in South Carolina. The absence of drama surrounding Gantt's enrollment the result of nearly two years of detailed preparation and planning on the part of college administrators, state politicians and business leaders made headlines at the time, but soon it faded from the public consciousness. Narrated by Tony-winning actor Phylicia Rashad, THE EDUCATION OF HARVEY GANTT tells this pivotal, yet largely forgotten, story of desegregation. Interviews with Gantt, distinguished scholars and civil rights veterans, and archival footage and reenactment illuminate the events leading up to Gantt's enrollment, the unfolding of entrance day and the impact of Clemson's integration on the state and the nation. In recounting this chapter of American civil rights history, the documentary illustrates how a determined young man, his family and his legal champions brought about permanent change.

Feb 7, 2014 at 9:30pm: One Night in March 
One Night in March began in late 1999 as a collaboration between sports writer Paul Jones and video producer Robbie Coblentz. What started as an interview with MSU great Leland Mitchell became a documentary almost two years in the making. "This story makes national headlines every time Mississippi State is in the Tournament, but we wanted to tell it through Mississippi eyes, " said Robbie Coblentz, executive producer of the video." It is set in the midst of the forceful integration of Ole Miss and the deaths of the civil rights workers in Philadelphia and tells the true story of a game that changed Mississippi State athletics forever. "Mississippi State's 1963 Tournament appearance was its last until 1991," Paul Jones, video co-producer, said. "We can only speculate how different Bulldog basketball might be today if earlier teams had been allowed to participate in the NCAAs." After the interview with Mitchell, Jones and Coblentz began traveling across the state to capture other MSU legends on tape. From Richard Williams in Bay St. Louis to Jack Cristil in Tupelo, everyone was willing and happy to discuss the '63 team and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. One common theme emerged -the 1963 team was pretty good as well as very courageous. "We hope that this documentary tells the story from a Mississippi point of view. This was a proud and at the same time very sad moment in our state's history," said Coblentz. "Proud because Coach McCarthy and (MSU president) Dr. Colvard did the right thing, but sad in the way they had to do it. We just want to tell the complete story."

Feb 9, 2014 at 9pm: African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross—The Age of Slavery 
The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution. For free black people in places like Philadelphia, these years were a time of tremendous opportunity. But for most African Americans, this era represented a new nadir. King Cotton fueled the rapid expansion of slavery into new territories, and a Second Middle Passage forcibly relocated African Americans from the Upper South into the Deep South. Yet as slavery intensified, so did resistance. From individual acts to mass rebellions, African Americans demonstrated their determination to undermine and ultimately eradicate slavery in every state in the nation. Courageous individuals, such as Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen and Frederick Douglass, played a crucial role in forcing the issue of slavery to the forefront of national politics, helping to create the momentum that would eventually bring the country to war.

Feb 10, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: Soul Food Junkies
Baffled by his dad's reluctance to change his traditional soul food diet in the face of a health crisis, filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out to learn more about this culinary tradition and it's relevance to black cultural identity. The African American love affair with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and in some tragic cases, deadly. This film puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its benefits and consequences. Hurt looks at the socioeconomics of predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options and wonders if soul food has become an addiction in his community.

Feb 10, 2014 at 8pm: AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange—Boys of Summer 
The Curacao youth baseball team faces injuries and obstacles as they try to maintain their winning streak at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. Team manager Vernon Isabella and his players also learn the meaning of national pride while traveling from a humble ball field in the Caribbean to the international spotlight and back.

Feb 11, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: Have You Heard from Johannesburg? —Free at Last
This mini-series chronicles the unprecedented international movement of citizen activists who fought for three decades to bring down the brutal, racist system of apartheid in South Africa when their governments would not. Diving into the heart of the conflict, South Africans tell the story of the most important effort in the antiapartheid campaign of the 80's: the alliance that brought together freedom fighters in South Africa as never before. A mass movement gains unprecedented momentum when three generations of resistance fighters band together as The United Democratic Front (UDF). Faced with growing international isolation, the apartheid government tries to win allies and convince the world of the merit of its piecemeal reforms even as it struggles to suppress open revolt, at times using savage secret tactics. The UDF protests climax in a fierce campaign of defiance, and internationally, Nelson Mandela becomes a household name as the campaign to free him ignites a worldwide crusade. Caught between an unstoppable internal mass movement and ongoing international pressure, the apartheid regime is finally forced to the negotiating table and at last lifts the decades-long bans on the ANC. After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela is released, sparking a global celebration as he tours the world to thank all. After 30 years in exile, Oliver Tambo is finally able to return to South Africa. But the struggle has taken a heavy toll on him, and he will die one year before his comrade, Nelson Mandela, is elected the first black president of a democratic South Africa.

Feb 11, 2014 at 8pm: America ReFramed: Prep School Negro
Andre Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket, a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated. In The Prep School Negro, Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday's accelerated desegregation and today's racial naiveté. 

Feb 12, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: The Powerbroker—Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights
Whitney M. Young Jr. was one of the most celebrated -- and controversial -- leaders of the civil rights era. This documentary follows his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, he took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. Young had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8pm: Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi 
This film tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation during the 1950s and '60s. Granted broad powers, this commission investigated citizens and organizations in attempts to derail the civil rights movement.

Feb 16, 2014 at 9pm: African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross—Into the Fire
Into the Fire examines the most tumultuous and consequential period in African American history: the Civil War and the end of slavery, and Reconstruction's thrilling but tragically brief "moment in the sun." From the beginning, African Americans were agents of their own liberation, forcing the Union to confront the issue of slavery by fleeing the plantations and taking up arms to serve with honor in the United States Colored Troops. After Emancipation, African Americans sought to realize the promise of freedom-rebuilding families shattered by slavery; demanding economic, political and civil rights; even winning elected office. Just a few years later, however, an intransigent South mounted a swift and vicious campaign of terror to restore white supremacy and roll back African American rights. Yet the achievements of Reconstruction would remain very much alive in the collective memory of the African American community.

Feb 16, 2014 at 11:30pm: Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the War
Through in-depth interviews with Civil War scholars, historical reenactments, and moving songs of faith and hope that made life bearable, LOOKING OVER JORDAN: AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND THE WAR highlights the African American experience in Tennessee during and after the war. It is co-produced by series producer Ed Jones and LaTonya Turner. Musical Score by the team of Joey Hodge and Joe DelMerico (HD Productions).

Feb 17, 2014 at 7pm: POV: Homegoings
Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City's historic Harlem neighborhood, "Homegoings" takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in he black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. Combining cinema verite with intimate interviews and archival photographs, the ilm paints a portrait of the dearly departed, their grieving families and a man who sends oved ones "home."

Feb 17, 2014 at 8pm: AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange—A Lot Like You
Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When her retired father moves back to Tanzania, Eliaichi begins a project that evocatively examines the intricate fabric of multiracial identity, and grapples with the complex ties that children have to the cultures of their parents. Kimaro decides to document her father's path back to his family and Chagga culture. In the process, she learns more deeply about the heritage that she took for granted as a child. Yet as she talks to more family members, especially her aunts, she uncovers a cycle of sexual violence that resonates with her work and life in the United States. When Kimaro speaks with her parents about the oppression that her aunts face, she faces a jarring disconnect between immigrant generations on questions of patriarchy and violence.

Feb 18, 2014 at 6:30pm: Independent Lens: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
Combining fresh and candid 16mm footage that had lain undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for the past 30 years, with contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars, this program looks at the people, society, culture and style that fuelled an era of convulsive change, 1967-1975. Utilizing an innovative format that riffs on the popular 1970s mix tape format, this is a cinematic and musical journey into the black communities of America.

Feb 19, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: Daisy Bates—First Lady of Little Rock 
As a black woman who was a feminist before the term was invented, Daisy Bates refused to accept her assigned place in society. This program tells the story of her life and public support of nine black students who registered to attend the all white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, which culminated in a constitutional crisis - pitting a president against a governor and a community against itself. Unconventional, revolutionary and egotistical, Bates reaped the rewards of instant fame, but paid dearly for it. 

Feb 23, 2014 at 9pm: African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross—Making a Way Out of No Way 
Something from Nothing portrays the Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans left the South, fleeing the threat of racial violence, and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. Leaders like Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey organized, offering vastly different strategies to further black empowerment and equality. Yet successful black institutions and individuals were always at risk. At the same time, the ascendance of black arts and culture showed that a community with a strong identity and sense of pride was taking hold in spite of Jim Crow. "The Harlem Renaissance" would not only redefine how America saw African Americans, but how African Americans saw themselves.

Feb 24, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: More than a Month 
Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker, is on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. Through this tongue-incheek journey, "More Than a Month" investigates what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a "post-racial" America.

Feb 24, 2014 at 8pm: AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange - Dear Mandela
Destroyed homes, threats at gunpoint and high-court action, this battle by three young people to stand up for their rights is a testimony to people power. When the South African government promises to "eradicate the slums" and begins to evict shack dwellers far outside the city, three friends who live in Durban's vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. Dea Mandela follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age.

Feb 25, 2014 at 7pm: The Black Kungfu Experience
THE BLACK KUNGFU EXPERIENCE introduces kungfu's African-American pioneers, men who challenged convention and overturned preconceived notions while mastering the ancient art. The four martial artists profiled include Ron Van Clief, an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran who starred in more than 40 kungfu films and earned the nickname "Black Dragon" from Bruce Lee. Their compelling stories illustrate how kungfu began as - and remains - a unique crucible of the black experience. In particular, kungfu's themes of the underdog triumphing against the odds resonated in black communities across the United States. 

Feb 28, 2014 at 7pm: American Masters: Alice Walker—Beauty in Truth
Most famous for her seminal novel "The Color Purple," writer / activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, her life unfolded during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the Civil Rights Movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire, and Walker herself. 90 minutes.

Feb 28, 2014 at 8:30pm: The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston 
Writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, a celebrated (and sometimes controversial) figure of the Harlem Renaissance, first rose to prominence with Mules and Men (1935) and cemented her reputation soon after with her 1937 masterwork, Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, few know about the woman behind this widely read and highly acclaimed novel - particularly the last 10 years of her life. THE LOST YEARS OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON 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.

Also in February, WORLD has created a collection of programming that speaks to Educational Achievement:

Feb 3, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: The Graduates, Pt. I
This mini-series is a journey into the heart of American education. More than a survey of contemporary policy challenges, it is an intimate and honest exploration of how students, their families and teachers are faring in a stressed public education system, during a politically complex climate, and during an unforgiving global economy. This is a story about how Latino students are faring in our nation's public education system, but it is also a story about the American future.

Feb 4, 2014 at 7pm: Independent Lens: The Graduates, Pt. II
This mini-series is a journey into the heart of American education. More than a survey of contemporary policy challenges, it is an intimate and honest exploration of how students, their families and teachers are faring in a stressed public education system, during a politically complex climate, and during an unforgiving global economy. This is a story about how Latino students are faring in our nation's public education system, but it is also a story about the American future.

Feb 4, 2014 at 8pm: America ReFramed: The New Public
The New Public follows the lives of the ambitious educators and lively students of Bed Stuy's new Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School (BCAM) over the course of the founding year, with the filmmakers returning three years later to again document the senior year of that first graduating class. Beginning in August 2006, just days before BCAM will open its doors for the first time. Dr. James O'Brien, former D.J. and point guard turned first-time principal, and his faculty of eight, take to the streets in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to recruit students. Their enthusiasm is infectious and enticing: strong support for the individual student, a rigorous academic curriculum and unconventional arts electives taught by local artists. While at first running smoothly, as months go by, conflicts arise, and by the end of freshman year, the school's idealistic vision is addressing some issues, but aggravating others. Flash-forward to September 2010, the first day of senior year, the school is complete with 4 grades and 450 students, with a faculty that has grown from 8 to 50. Of the 104 students in their founding class, almost half have transferred or dropped out, leaving a senior class of 60 and only 30 on track to graduate. BCAM has made major adjustments, most notably, more disciplinary structure and no arts electives for seniors. What happens in the 4 years is both compelling and frustrating, and it's what makes The New Public a critical document of the complexities, frustrations and personal dramas that put public education at the center of national debate. What makes a kid or a school succeed are a series of complicated, interconnected dynamics, including, a reevaluation of how we define success.

Feb 5, 2014 at 6pm: Our Time Is Now
OUR TIME IS NOW is a coming-of-age documentary following six New Mexico teenagers as they strive to finish high school, wrestle with personal challenges, and pursue their dreams.

Feb 5, 2014 at 7pm: POV: American Promise
This film spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y.., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys' divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan's Dalton School, this documentary presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

Feb 11, 2014 at 8pm: America ReFramed: Prep School Negro
Andre Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket, a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated. In The Prep School Negro, Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday's accelerated desegregation and today's racial naiveté.

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