Sunday, February 3 at 11pm
WORLD OF JULIA PETERKIN: CHEATING THE STILLNESS
The World of Julia Peterkin chronicles the controversial life of author Julia Peterkin, Pulitzer Prize winner for her sensitive portrayal of rural African Americans of the 1920s. Hailed by W.E.B. Du Bois for her “eye and ear to see beauty and hear truth,” this white plantation mistress shattered stereotypes of race and gender before she inexplicably stopped writing at the height of her career.
Thursday, February 7 at 10pm
AFROPOP: THE ULTIMATE CULTURAL EXCHANGE
The innovative documentary series on contemporary life, art and pop culture in the African Diaspora. Four films introduce powerful stories: African boxers journey across the Atlantic to match their skills against the best in the world; a teenage girl travels to Ghana and an expatriate from Sierra Leone returns to his homeland, each hoping to dispel prevailing myths about the two countries; and, Hurricane Katrina victims find themselves refugees in their own country.
Friday, February 10 at 11pm
Reflects on the last 50 years in African-American art by exploring the influences, inspirations and experiences of black artists. Beginning at the height of the Civil Rights Era and leading up to the present, it provides a truthful, unflinching look at often-ignored artists and their progeny. Impressionistic video collages showcase the wide variety, both thematically and stylistically, of contemporary pieces of black artists working in the genres of illustration, abstraction and surrealism, among others. COLORED FRAMES also chronicles the black artist’s struggle for visibility and acceptance in mainstream art society as well as their experiences challenging assumptions about what constitutes “blackness,” even within their own community.
Sunday, February 17 at 4pm
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY
This program tells the story of William Still, one of the most important yet unheralded individuals of the Underground Railroad. The film details the accounts of black abolitionists, who had everything at stake as they helped fugitives follow the North Star to Canada.
Sunday, February 17 at 11pm
MUSICAL THREADS: EXPRESSION OF A PEOPLE
Guitar virtuoso and ethnomusicologist Tyron Cooper and world-class mezzo soprano Marietta Simpson lead viewers on a journey through African-American musical culture in MUSICAL THREADS: EXPRESSIONS OF A PEOPLE. Shot in the Cole Porter Room at the Indiana History Center, this simple, yet engaging production includes special arrangements of well-known secular and sacred songs and original tunes penned by Cooper and Simpson. The diverse set list ranges from traditional hymns and inspirational spirituals to the jazz standards “Body and Soul” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” Between songs, Cooper and Simpson discuss the origins and styles of the songs, while stressing the universality of the messages conveyed in them.
Monday, February 18 at 10pm
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.
Wednesday, February 20 at 10pm
BONES OF TURKANA
Follow famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and his wife, Meave, daughter Louise and their colleagues as they work in the arid northern regions of Kenya’s Turkana Basin to unravel the mysteries of human evolution. While one of he Leakeys’ goals is to demonstrate the complexity and truth of human evolution, they also seek to show how the qualities that we proudly call human were all born in Africa. The story that emerges in the film is exciting, emotional, contemplative, occasionally funny and, in the end, transforming. This is Africa at its most beautiful and harshest.
Thursday, February 21 at 10pm
Mary Bateman Clark: A Woman of Color and Courage explores the pursuit of freedom and equality—a theme central to the complex and changing notions of race, slavery, and the law that existed in antebellum America. Although banned in the Indiana Constitution, slavery and involuntary servitude did exist in Indiana after 1816. An African American woman, Mary Bateman Clark and her lawyers challenged the indenture system. She won her freedom. This ruling contributed substantially to ending involuntary servitude in Indiana.
Friday, February 22 at 9pm
During the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, Southern-born, Chicago-raised and New York-made Sister Rosetta Tharpe introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of popular rock ‘n roll, inspiring the male icons of the genre. This flamboyant African-American gospel superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly electrified guitar, was a natural-born performer and a rebel — one of the most important singer-musicians of the 20th century. She is acknowledged as a major influence not only on generations of black musicians — including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James — but also on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.
Friday, February 22 at 10pm
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.
Sunday, February 24 at 2:30pm
Join WTIU’s Shameka Neely at Bloomington’s Second Street Baptist Church, for an examination of the history of the African-American worship experience. For more than two centuries African-American churches have served as a means of inspiration and hope, and emphasized the meaning of individual transformation. The call to worship can vary from denomination to denomination, but many of the same spiritual traditions have lived in the black church for centuries. The documentary and the panel discussion will explore topics of spirituality, rituals, power and leadership in the black church.
Sunday, February 24 at 11pm
BLACKING UP explores racial identity through the lens of hip-hop music and culture. The film focuses in particular on the tensions that surround white identification with hip-hop. Popularly referred to by derogatory terms such as “wannabe” or “wigger,” the white person who identifies with hip-hop often invokes heated responses. For some, it is an example of cultural progress – a movement toward a color-blind America. For others, it is just another case of cultural theft and mockery – a repetition of a racist past. BLACKING UP probes these different responses, constructing a dialogue on race that draws parallels from American history and incorporates the well-known rappers, and assortment of young fans and hip-hop hopefuls, among others.
Thursday, February 28 at 9:30pm
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME challenges one of America’s most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. This documentary tells a harrowing story of how in the South, even as chattel slavery came to an end, new forms of involuntary servitude, including convict leasing, debt slavery and peonage, took its place with shocking force — brutalizing and ultimately circumscribing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold and coerced to do the bidding of masters. The program spans eight decades, from 1865 to 1945, revealing the interlocking forces in both the South and the North that enabled this “neoslavery” to begin and persist. Using archival photographs and dramatic re-enactments, filmed on location in Alabama and Georgia, it tells the forgotten stories of both victims and perpetrators of neoslavery and includes interviews with their descendants living today. The program also features interviews with Douglas Blackmon, author of the Pulitzer Prize- winning book “Slavery by Another Name” and with leading scholars of this period.