February Black History month programming on WQED

Black History Month

Throughout its 67-year history, WQED has produced local, statewide and national specials that focus on the significance of the African American community. This February, WQED will air some annual local favorites, national productions from PBS, and radio programming on WQED-FM 89.3 in celebration of Black History Month.

Black History Month programming on WQED is made possible with support from  Highmark BCBS and Equitrans Midstream, with additional support from the University of Pittsburgh and Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School.

Coming in February:

The Good Fight

Monday, February 1 at 7:30 pm

Sunday February 14 at noon

The Good Fight celebrates members of “The Greatest Generation,” African-American men and women who served their country even when their country didn’t always serve them.

Over seventy-five years after the D-Day invasion, WQED shares the stories of WWII veterans and war workers – men and women who fought the good fight — battling racism at home while fighting for democracy overseas. Written and produced by Chris Moore and Minette Seate, The Good Fight introduces viewers to these remarkable Americans who share the experiences that helped make history.


American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till

Tuesday, February 2 at 9pm

The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was a spark that helped mobilize the Civil Rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.


Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls

Thursday, February 4 at 8pm

Sunday, February 14 at 12:30pm

Adultification: it’s a disturbing phenomenon that’s happening across the country – and with notable impact right here in the Pittsburgh region. Adultification is the perception that African American girls are more adult, more aggressive, more sexually aware and less in need of support and care than girls of the same age, but of different race. Experts have linked adultification to disproportionate rates of classroom discipline, school suspension, and referrals to the juvenile justice system for Black girls which has a direct connection to the school-to-prison pipeline. What’s more, the racial disparity in juvenile justice referrals of Black girls is much higher in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County than school districts in 95 percent of similar cities.


Beacon for Change: The Pittsburgh Courier Story

Thursday, February 4 at 8:30pm

Sunday, February 14 at 12:30pm

Groundbreaking, influential, transformative. From its beginnings in 1907, the Pittsburgh Courier has been a leader among the nation’s African American newspapers – sparking historic change on issues ranging from education, housing and employment to discrimination in the military. With rare archival images and compelling interviews, this documentary explores the Courier’s impact on civil rights, social justice, culture and sports. The paper also provided historians with an invaluable chronicle of everyday life in the black community.


Wylie Avenue Days 

Sunday, February 7 at noon 

Thursday, February 18 at 8pm

Producer and Host Chris Moore takes viewers on a tour through the illustrious history of Pittsburgh’s Hill District when it was described as “The Crossroads of the World.”


Torchbearers: The Story of Pittsburgh’s Freedom Fighters

Sunday, February 7 at 1pm

Revisit Pittsburgh’s struggles during the so-called golden era of civil rights, and meet many of the men and women who lit the way for the generations that followed. Hosted by Chris Moore and produced by Minette Seate, Torchbearers is a celebration of lives driven by a greater purpose.


Barbershops: PA Stylin’ 

Sunday, February 7 at 2pm

Chris Moore takes a loving look at the cultural importance of barbershops in the African American community, focusing on barbers of color from Pittsburgh to Philly, and many places in between.


American Experience: Freedom Riders

Sunday, February 7 @ 3pm

Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in order to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.


An Evening with Diahann Carroll

Sunday, February 7 at 5pm

This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provides a rare and insightful look into the life and career of legendary entertainer Diahann Carroll. Taped live in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium this program was the seventh in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With… series. Television journalist, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, Gwen Ifill interviewed the actress and singer.


Civil Rights: Witnesses To History

Monday, February 8 at 7:30pm

Sunday, February 14 at 2pm

They are senior citizens now, but during the early 1960s, their youthful actions reshaped America. WQED shares the unforgettable memories and rare photographs of Civil Rights era activists including the Reverend C.T. Vivian, Sister Patricia McCann, and freedom singer Rutha Harris, who fought against segregation and for African-Americans’ right to vote.


American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town

Monday, February 8 at 9pm

The story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that prospered during the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation. Torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history, the neighborhood rose from the ashes.


We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told

Thursday, February 11 at 8pm

Sunday, February 14 at 2pm

This documentary film explores the social conditions and historical events that came together to make Pittsburgh one of the leading contributors to the legacy of jazz music in the world. This one-hour program is packed with interesting interviews, historical photographs, and over 20 live performance clips of the Jazz Masters including George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn Mary Lou Williams and more—all Pittsburghers. 


Dave Chapelle: The Mark Twain Prize

Friday, February 12 at 10pm

An outstanding lineup of entertainers gathers in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to salute Dave Chappelle, recipient of the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.


Return To The Roots of Civil Rights 

Sunday, February 14 at 2pm

Thursday, February 25 at 8:30pm

WQED follows a group of western Pennsylvanians who journeyed to the sites of America’s Civil Rights struggle. The Return to the Roots of Civil Rights Bus Tour covered nearly 2,600 miles, traveling from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania to cities throughout the deep south. Participants, who ranged in age from 15 to 75, explored historic locations and met some of the foot soldiers who helped abolish segregation.


A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Sunday, February 14 at 5pm

A Conversation With Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. is a live to tape interview program featuring Gates being interviewed by CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux. The taping occured on February 18, 2010 at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston, West Virginia. The Harvard professor was interviewed about his life and experiences including growing up in West Virginia and his trip to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama.


Come By Here: A History of Five Churches 

Monday, February 15 at 7:30pm

Sunday, February 21 at 1:30pm

Church has always been an important part of African-American life. While western Pennsylvania is blessed with hundreds of predominantly black churches, this documentary focuses on just five – but each with a very different story: a church with ties to the underground railroad (Bethel A.M.E. in Monongahela), one known for its rich music program (Mount Ararat Baptist in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood), a small church soldiering on despite dwindling membership (Allen Chapel A.M.E. in Elizabeth), one known for its civil rights activism (Ebenezer Baptist in Pittsburgh’s Hill District), and a church built by the hands of laborers (First Cambria A.M.E. Zion in Johnstown).


American Experience: Voice of Freedom

Monday, February 15 at 9pm


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

PART ONE: Tuesday, February 16 at 9pm

PART TWO: Tuesday, February 23 at 9pm

Two-part series reveals the broad history and culture of the Black church and explores African American faith communities on the frontlines of hope and change. Featuring interviews with Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Bishop Michael Curry, Cornel West, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Rev. Al Sharpton, Yolanda Adams, Rev. William Barber II, BeBe Winans, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie and more.


Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America

Friday, February 19 at 9pm

Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today.


Let ‘Em Know You’re There

Sunday, February 21 at 2pm

Made in partnership with the Onondaga Historical Association, Let ‘Em Know You’re There is a short documentary about Jim Tucker, a former NBA player who has held the record for fastest triple-double for the past 60 years. Featuring animation that depicts a vibrant, unforgettable evening in Madison Square Garden in the 1950s, the film uses Jim’s record as a lens into a remarkable life outside of basketball.


Flyboys: Western Pennsylvania’s Tuskegee Airmen 

Sunday, February 21 at 12:30pm

The story of struggle and the ultimate triumph of the brave African American soldiers who served their country during World War II. The film chronicles the “Tuskegee Airmen” program, a controversial military initiative designed to measure African-Americans’ competence for flying the engines of war. This fascinating documentary features the stories of the more than 40 aviators from western Pennsylvania, including the pilots, navigators and bombardiers who flew fighter and bomber planes during the war, as well as the maintenance and support staff, instructors and personnel who kept the planes in the air.


Marching Forward

Sunday, February 21 at 3pm

In the segregated South, music inspires two marching band directors to cross color lines and give their students the opportunity of a lifetime.


The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Sunday, February 21 at 4pm

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. For 85 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds.


An Evening with B.B. King 

Sunday, February 21 at 5pm

This hour-long one-on-one interview provided a rare and insightful look into the life of B.B. King, the King of the Blues. Taped in Chicago on October 24, 2003, in front of a live audience, King was interviewed by musician and entertainer Isaac Hayes. King has traveled the world spreading his brand of blues to fans. An Evening With B.B. King shared the good times and the bad as experienced by this legendary blues guitarist.


Memories of the March: Pittsburgh Stories 

Monday, February 22 at 7:30pm

Fifty years ago, a quarter of a million people gathered in our nation’s capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At that iconic civil rights demonstration, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most-quoted speech, “I Have A Dream.” Pittsburgh area men and women were there; they share their thoughts of that day — and the events leading up to that time and the ensuing years — in Memories of the March.


Independent Lens: Mr. Soul!

Monday, February 22 at 10pm

Friday, February 26 at 9pm

In 1968, producer Ellis Haizlip developed a new show aimed at Black audiences, one that used the familiar variety-show format to display and celebrate the breadth of Black culture. For five years, the public television series SOUL! highlighted Black literature, music, and politics, and often paired guests in unexpected juxtapositions that gave them an opportunity to shine in unique ways.


Black History Month Programming on WQED-FM 89.3

Throughout the month of February, WQED-FM 89.3 honors Black History Month by featuring works by Black composers and performers.   Listeners will hear music by William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Duke Ellington, plus performances by Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Andre Watts, the Imani Winds, and more.


Pieces will be scheduled at 7:30am and 5:30pm each weekday.  


Lift Every Voice: A Musical Story From Song to Justice

Tuesday, February 16 at 8pm

A collection of powerful songs, stories and interviews with some of today’s most acclaimed Black Artists and Scholars. This program was curated with the intent of creating awareness around the African American musical past, while inspiring listeners to cling to the hopefulness of our musical future together as every voice is heard and celebrated.


Local Black History Month Programs on Performance in Pittsburgh:

Fridays at 7pm

WQED-FM rebroadcasts local Black History Month programs recorded and performed in Pittsburgh.  

February 5 – The Colour of Music performance of “Requiem for Rice”, recorded at Carnegie Music Hall on February 13, 2019.

February 12 – In celebration of Black History Month, The Imani Winds concert from Carnegie Music Hall in November 2018 – part of the Chamber Music Pittsburgh concert series.  

February 19 – A rebroadcast of the Mendelssohn Choir Let My People Go concert, recorded February 2019 at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

February 26 – Music from the Colour of Music Festival at Carnegie Mellon University, recorded April 28, 2016.  Featuring music by Mozart and Chevalier de Saint-George.  


About WQED

WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqed.org/fm; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and WQED Education (www.wqed.org/edu).