Black History Month 2023

WCNY is celebrating Black History Month with a closer look at the lives of Black Americans who have made indelible marks on history with their artistry, professional achievements, and community activism. Throughout the month, tune in to hear featured programs celebrating Black excellence on WCNY-TV, Classic FM, and streaming online!

Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World (4-Part Series)

Watch Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 9:30 p.m., Feb. 14 at 9:30 p.m. & Feb. 21 at 9:30 & 10:30 p.m. on WCNY-TV

The series recounts the origins of this bold and revolutionary art form through the voices of those who were there at the beginning, creating an anthology of how hip hop became a cultural phenomenon against the backdrop of American history.

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Making Black America: Through the Grapevine (4-Part Series)

Watch Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 11, 18 & 25 at 8:30 p.m. on WCNY-TV

This four-part series from executive producer, host, and writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “white gaze.”

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Antiques Roadshow—Celebrating Black Americana

Watch Monday, Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. on WCNY-TV

“Antiques Roadshow” honors Black History Month with a special episode. Highlights include an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color, and an African American beauty book written by Madam C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire.

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Independent Lens—Outta the Muck

Watch Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. on WCNY-TV

Wade into the rich soil of Pahokee, Florida, a town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee. Beyond its football legacy, including sending over a dozen players to the NFL, the community tells their stories of Black achievement and resilience in the face of tragic storms and personal trauma.

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Finding Your Roots—Family: Lost and Found

Watch Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. on WCNY-TV

DNA is used to solve mysteries for actor Joe Manganiello and football star Tony Gonzalez.

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Becoming Frederick Douglass

Watch Saturday, Feb. 18 at 9:30 p.m. on WCNY-TV

Discover how a man born into slavery became one of the most influential voices for democracy in
American history. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stanley Nelson explores the role Douglass played in
securing the right to freedom for African Americans.

Watch Trailer

Finding Your Roots—And I Still Rise

Watch Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. on WCNY-TV

Unexpected roots of activist Angela Y. Davis and statesman Jeh Johnson are revealed.

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Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals

Watch Friday, Feb. 24 at 10 p.m. on WCNY-TV

This documentary examines the behind-the-scenes story of Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman’s famed concert of spirituals at Carnegie Hall on March 18, 1990, with performance clips and new interviews with opera star Angel Blue, Met Opera General Manager Peter Gelb, and more.

Watch Trailer

Classic FM

Black History Month Special on Classic FM
Marie Lamb will host a special honoring Black History month, featuring works by the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, R. Nathaniel Dett, William Grant Still, and a performance from Marian Anderson, the first African American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Also featured is the music of Florence Price, whose music was thought to be lost until it was re-discovered in 2009.
Listen Thursday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. & 6 p.m. on Classic FM

Classic FM will also feature Black History Month vignettes consisting of short stories of the musical contributions of notable African Americans. These can be heard all month long during Classic Choices on WCNY Classic FM.

Feminine Fusion


Women of Color: Composers, Part 5

This week, we’ll highlight works composed by women of color.
Listen Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. on Classic FM

Live Stream!

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7 Easy and Inspiring Activities to Celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month is a time to celebrate African American heroes who have made a difference in our world. Here are some inspiring activities that you can do with your child to celebrate Black History Month and help your child value their own strengths. Each activity draws inspiration from historical figures in Black History, whom Xavier, Yadina, and Brad traveled back in time to meet.

Learn More!


Children’s Books to Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time for remembrance and celebration of the accomplishments of Black pioneers and trailblazers. Story time is one of many ways to teach young children about Black history. Check out these 12 books to celebrate Black history this month and those to follow.

Learn More!


How Black Art Can Spark Conversations with Children

When presented in ways that children can appreciate, art has been proven to produce academic benefits such as increased vocabulary, plus math and reading growth, as well as behavioral benefits such as social-emotional learning. The arts in general, and Black art in particular, can help children resist race-based negativity, giving them the strength, confidence and self-assurance that will help protect them from racial injustices for years to come.

Learn More!


Independent Lens—The Big Payback

A rookie alderwoman from Evanston, Illinois, led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for this reparations movement to finally get the big payback?



Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space

Directed by Tracy Heather Strain, Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space is an in-depth biography of the influential author whose groundbreaking anthropological work would challenge assumptions about race, gender and cultural superiority that had long defined the field in the 19th century.



Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes

An intimate portrait of the quiet genius who speaks with his music, and who brought the upright bass out from the background into the spotlight.



American Masters—Roberta Flack

“Roberta Flack” follows the music icon from a piano lounge through her rise to stardom. From “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” to “Killing Me Softly,” Flack’s virtuosity was inseparable from her commitment to civil rights. Detailing her story in her own words, the film features exclusive access to Flack’s archives and interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Peabo Bryson and more.



Next at the Kennedy Center—The Roots Residency

Hip Hop legends The Roots give an electrifying performance during their residency at the Kennedy Center. Beyond the stage, the band endeavors to inspire others and explore the depths of their creative potential.


In partnership with The Seward House Museum, WCNY invites you to join us on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1:00 p.m. at the WCNY Studios for a screening and discussion of the film, “Becoming Frederick Douglass.”

The event will begin at 1 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by the screening and discussion at 1:30 p.m.

BECOMING FREDERICK DOUGLAS: Discover how a man born into slavery in Maryland became one of the most influential voices for democracy in American history. Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Stanley Nelson explores the role abolitionist, orator, social reformer, and statesman Frederick Douglass played in securing the right to freedom and equality for African Americans.

Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom and Becoming Frederick Douglass are co-productions of Firelight Films and Maryland Public Television with an appropriation from the State of Maryland. These programs are also made possible by Bowie State University, DIRECTV, and Pfizer Inc.


Submission Deadline Extended through Friday, Feb. 17 at Noon!

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