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WTIU’s Women’s History Month Specials

WTIU celebrates the achievements of women with specials about a WWII portraitist, a forgotten hero of the civil rights movement, pioneering pilots, and more.

Racers from the first Air Women's Derby, in 1929

Invisible Women: Forgotten Artists of Florence

Sunday, March 19 at 11:30pm
Sunday, March 26 at 4:30pm

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, gave rise to some of the world’s most celebrated artists, architects and scientists, including Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, and Galileo. Yet little is known of the Italian city’s trailblazing female artists. The Emmy-winning Invisible Women sheds light on the lives and works of these largely forgotten Renaissance-era painters, revealing the “hidden half” of one of the world’s most beloved art cities. Infrared reflectography and other high-tech equipment assists a dedicated group of artists, historians, restorers, and museum executives as they remove centuries of decay and bring precious pieces of art history, salvaged from storage facilities throughout Italy, back to life. Cameras chart this painstaking process of reconstruction, restoration, preservation, and conservation of two works, “Lamentation with Saints” by Plautilla Nelli (1524-1588), a cloistered nun and the first known female painter of Florence, and “David and Bathsheba” by Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653).

Anne Braden: Southern Patriot
Wednesday, March 22 at 1:00pm

Anne Braden: Southern Patriot explores the extraordinary life and legacy of the American civil rights leader. After she was charged with sedition for attempting to desegregate a Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood in 1954, Braden used the attacks to turn herself “inside out” and embrace a lifetime of racial justice organizing matched by few whites in American history. Labeled a “traitor to her race” and ostracized as a “red” by segregationists and even many in the civil rights movement, she fought for an inclusive movement community and demonstrated that protecting civil liberties was essential to gaining civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr. named one of only five southern whites he could count as allies. Braden died in 2006 leaving a remarkable legacy as a grassroots organizer, committed journalist, movement strategist, social chronicler, teacher, and mentor to three generations of social justice activists. In the film Braden recalls 60 years of activism that intersected and linked issues of race with civil liberties, class, sexuality, economic justice, environmentalism, and peace. Braden biographer Catherine Fosl, Angela Y. Davis, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Barbara Ransby, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Cornel West among others add their comments.

Justice for My Sister
Thursday, March 23 at 10:00pm

Justice for My Sister follows one Guatemalan woman during her three-year battle to hold her sister’s killer accountable. She encounters many obstacles: a police record that is missing, a judge who is accused of killing his own wife, and witnesses who are too afraid to testify. In the end, it is one of the few cases of domestic violence murder that results in conviction in Guatemala.

Women of ’69, Unboxed
Friday, March 24 at 1pm

A group of women, former college classmates who were both electrified and pummeled by the turbulent surf of the 1960s, look back at those times and ahead to the future. As they approach age 65, they ruminate on their heartaches and triumphs, and evaluate the “dowry” they’ll leave for future generations. If their parents were the Greatest Generation, perhaps this generation was the Loudest. From pleated skirts and circle pins to rebellion and transformation, they changed the world—at least in their fevered dreams—and the world changed them.

Sharon Isbin: Troubadour
Sunday, March 26 at 11:30pm

Acclaimed for her lyricism, technique, and versatility, multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin is considered one of today’s pre-eminent classical guitarists. Her catalogue of more than 25 recordings, which range from Baroque, folk, and Latin to rock, pop and jazz-fusion, reflects Isbin’s remarkable versatility. Combining performance and documentary, Sharon Isbin: Troubadour focuses on Isbin’s unusual and inspiring musical journey, including her early guitar studies and teenage triumphs. Along the way, the Minneapolis native encountered and overcame numerous obstacles—from resistance to the guitar as an orchestral instrument to her struggles working within a traditionally male-dominated field. The film also explores Isbin’s role as teacher to a new generation of guitarists at both The Julliard School, where she created the first guitar department, and the Aspen Music Festival.

Independent Lens: Ovarian Psycos
Monday, March 27 at 10pm

Based in the heart of Los Angeles’ eastside, and building upon the legacy of the Chicano and civil rights movement, the Ovarian Psycos Cycle Brigade are a ferocious and unapologetic group of young women of color who bicycle through the barrios and boulevards of the Eastside to confront injustice, build community, and redefine identity. Through the personal stories of the crew’s rabble-rousing founder, poet Xela de la X; street artist Andi Xoch; and a young woman from the neighborhood, Evelyn; the film traces how the “Ovas” emerged from the immigrant neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, and how they speak to the broken, uneducated, and those who live the hard life.

Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black
Wednesday, March 29 at 1pm

Leaving a promising art career behind, Pittsburgh native Elizabeth Black (1912-1983) joined the American Red Cross at the height of World War II. On special assignment, she sketched hundreds of soldiers, sailors, and airmen throughout Europe and sent the treasured portraits to worried families back home. Seventy years later, Black’s son uncovered photographs of her sketches, scrapbooks, news clippings, and other memorabilia from her forgotten footlocker. Through Black’s lifelike sketches, rare archival images, and interviews with the veterans and their families, Portraits from the Home Front explores Black’s lost art career and her distinguished service during World War II. It captures memorable scenes of amazed families finally receiving the lost portraits, some of which capture loved ones killed in action.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101
Thursday, March 30 at 10pm

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 is the story of Comanche activist LaDonna Harris, who led an extensive life of Indian political and social activism and is now passing on her traditional cultural and leadership values to a new generation of emerging indigenous leaders. A shy, reserved farm girl from Walters, Oklahoma, Harris grew up studying the body language and interests of Indians and non-Indians. Her knowledge of cultural differences coupled with her Comanche values made her one of the foremost activists for indigenous people’s rights. Tapped by President Lyndon Johnson to educate the executive and legislative branches on the role of American Indian tribes and their relationship to the U.S. government, Harris taught “Indian 101” to members of Congress and other agencies for more than 35 years. In addition to her work in civil rights, world peace, the environment and women’s rights, she is best known for introducing landmark legislation.

Beyond The Powder: The Legacy of the First Women’s Cross Country Air Race
Friday, March 31 at 1:00pm

Beyond the Powder follows the female pilots of the 2014 Air Race Classic as they race across the country while telling the story of the first women’s cross-country air race of 1929, also known as the Powder Puff Derby. The first Women’s Air Derby in 1929—comprised of 20 women, including Amelia Earhart—was flown from Santa Monica to Cleveland, kicking off the National Air Races. The country watched as these brave women made history flying cross-country, breaking into a competition that was thought to be for men only. They encountered sabotage, death, and all the difficulties of flying at the dawn of aviation. Today the Powder Puff Derby continues as the Air Race Classic, with modern day racers carrying out the legacy and the adventurous spirit of the original racers. Showing that they were more than just their make-up, the original Derby contestants have inspired those flying today to truly push beyond the powder.

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Laura Baich
WFIU-WTIU Marketing Director

Indiana Public Media is a producer and distributor of public media from WFIU Public Radio and WTIU Public Television at Indiana University including your favorite programming from NPR and PBS.


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