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Celebrate Black History

Celebrate Black History

Explore this collection of national and local programs honoring key historical events and cultural contributions of Black Americans.

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The Alice and Wade Houston Story
This KET film chronicles the lives and careers of one of Louisville’s most prominent couples. From their childhoods in Louisville, Kentucky, and Alcoa, Tennessee, we follow the Houstons as they move from the segregated worlds of their youth to their multiple successes in the arenas of both business and sports.

The story is told by a chorus of voices in addition to Alice and Wade, including their three children; relatives; and friends; as well as business partners, civic leaders and former basketball players whose lives have all been touched by the Houstons’ generosity of spirit.

Thomas Wilkins standing on stage smiling in a tux and holding a baton with the auditorium seats behind him.

Beyond the Baton: A Conductor’s Journey
Born to a single mother on welfare, Thomas Wilkins grew up to become one of the few African American conductors leading a major orchestra. Learn about his experience as a Black conductor and his impact on the musical world.

Host Renee Shaw and the Connections logo

Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people – including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more – explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

An illustration of a man standing in the middle of two groups of people brandishing weapons with a US flag in the background.

Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives
Discover the history of Davis Bottom, a diverse, tight-knit, working-class neighborhood near downtown Lexington settled mainly by African-Americans after the Civil War.

Director Spike Lee and hip hop artists Public Enemy standing outside in front of some trees.

Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World
Chuck D of Public Enemy explores Hip Hop’s political awakening over the last 50 years. With a host of rap stars and cultural commentators, he tracks the genre’s socially conscious roots and examines how Hip Hop has become “the Black CNN.”

A collage of a photo of program host Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; a tree and sky; and the program title.

Finding Your Roots
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uses cutting-edge DNA research and old-school genealogical sleuthing to help some of the nation’s most compelling personalities discover their buried family histories.

Love & Respect with Killer Mike
In this weekly conversation series hosted by Grammy-winning hip-hop artist, Michael Render (aka Killer Mike), Michael welcomes notable people from all walks of American life for candid conversations about their lives, careers and issues of the day.

Three women standing shoulder-to-shoulder smiling for the camera with the show logo superimposed over the image.

A Seat at the Table
Accomplished African American women bring their unique perspectives through candid conversations about family, careers, health and more.

A collage of several people with the show title superimposed over it.

Smoketown: A Tradition to Treasure
A look at Louisville’s oldest African-American community through the pictures and memories of past and present residents.

Two men wearing track suits with heads bowed and each with a fist raised in the air.

The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World
This film documents the first decade of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. which averages nearly 5 million visitors a year.

A close-up of a statue depicting a man on horseback with the top of a building in the background.

Statues: This Is What We Stand For?
Racism, white privilege what do communities choose as symbols? This documentary examines these questions in Louisville, Kentucky, a city grappling with many of the issues that divide our country today.

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A close-up of Maya Angelou with short gray hair and a shiny black blouse.

African American Lives 2
Maya Angelou shares the story of learning about her Mende heritage during an interview with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Three women in red tops, skirts, and dresses, and their heads wrapped in red fabric pose on steps outside between buildings.

AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
This series is at the forefront of bringing informative and entertaining films about modern life in the African Diaspora to television audiences in the U.S.

Roberta Flack fixing her hair while looking at herself in a mirror.

American Masters: Roberta Flack
Follow the piano prodigy and one-time school teacher, from her start in a Washington, D.C. piano lounge to superstardom and becoming one of the most influential singers in American music history.

The Beecher Terrace Story logo over a partial view of doors and windows on the fronts of residences.

The Beecher Terrace Story
This documentary examines the history of the Beecher Terrace public housing community and the role it played in the development of the Russell neighborhood in Louisville.

Barack Obama in a tie and white shirt with sleeves rolled up uses both hands to shake hands with people in a crowd behind a barricade.

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise (Parts 1 & 2)
In this series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. studies the last 50 years of African American history.

The program logo sits atop an abstracted image of hills and trees in black and gray tones.

Black in Appalachia
Learn about a project that showcases the contributions of Black communities of the Mountain South.

A black and white photo of a football player in a jersey with 20 on the chest holds a ball in his left arm and extends his right in a protective gesture.

Black in Blue
Learn the story of four African American football players at the University of Kentucky who broke the color line in the Southeastern Conference in the 1960s.

Renee Shaw, Bianca Lynne Spriggs, Crystal Wilkinson, and Nikky Finney sit at a table with microphones. In the foreground are a fern and two audience members and in the back is a blue curtain.

Black Women Writers Forum
Writers Nikky Finney, Crystal Wilkinson and Bianca Lynne Spriggs discuss the experiences of and challenges faced by Black women in the South. Renee Shaw moderates.

A black and white photo of a close-up of a car with several adults inside along with one boy who looks straight at the camera.

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America
Discover how the automobile brought mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and violence.

A panel of eight people seated on a stage with Renee Shaw at a podium in the center.

Economic Success Through Minority Empowerment
Renee Shaw and a panel of state and national leaders explore the links between academic success in minorities and economic empowerment, how embracing diversity is pivotal to being successful in a global economy, and the importance of leadership today in creating opportunities for tomorrow.

A collaged image of a waving US flag, silhouettes of people walking, and the logo for Eyes on the Prize.

Eyes on the Prize
Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today.

A close-up of a statue in a church setting with people in the background.

Facing an Uncomfortable Truth
This film explores the roles of African Americans in the early years of the Catholic Church in Kentucky from those who were enslaved and worked in growing the denomination to individuals who endured second-class citizenship and how Black Catholics in Kentucky are finding their voices today.

Jessye Norman seated on set in a green jacket holds a copy of her memoir.

Great Conversations: Jessye Norman and Gloria Steinem
Opera singer Jessye Norman discusses her memoir “Stand Up Straight and Sing!”. She is interviewed by Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and co-founder of Ms. magazine.

Great Leaders: The Black Odyssey of Lyman Johnson
This biography of Kentucky civil rights pioneer Lyman Johnson is told mostly in his own words.

Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle singing on stage with a red curtain behind them.

Great Performances – The Magic of Spirituals
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.

A photo portrait of Ida B. Wells with her hair pulled up on top of her head fastened with a hairpin and with a dark lace collar fastened at her neck with a pin.

Ida B. Wells: American Stories
Examine the story of the 19th-century crusading investigative journalist, civil rights leader and passionate suffragist, who recently was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize citation.

A woman seated at a table with others gesturing with her hand.

Independent Lens: The Big Payback
An Evanston, IL rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?

A man in a baseball cap and a blue short-sleeved polo shirt standing in front of several other men, one of whom holds a football helmet in the air.

Independent Lens: Outta the Muck
The people of Pahokee, Florida overcome tragic storms and personal trauma to celebrate family history and football.

A photo of Ernest Withers standing with two cameras around his neck and standing next to another one in front of a plate-glass window with "Ernest C. Withers Photographers" painted on it.

Independent Lens: The Picture Taker
The life of photographer Ernest Withers was anything but black and white. Soldier, police officer, civil rights activist and paid FBI informant, his was an unlikely résumé for a Black photographer in the 60s.

A black-and-white image depicting  six black people on the underground railroad.

Kentucky’s Underground Railroad — Passage to Freedom
An account of the fugitive slave movement in Kentucky, focusing on those who lived in Kentucky and sought to escape to the North.

Muhammad Ali looking at the camera wearing boxing trunks and with both fists held out at chest level.

Louisville’s Own Ali
Explore the life and times of boxing hero Muhammad Ali as seen from the perspective of his hometown including interviews with journalist Dave Kindred and Bob Edwards, Gov. John Y. Brown, Mayor Jerry Abramson, Sen. Georgia Davis Powers and others.

A man in a hat playing a French horn.

Next at the Kennedy Center: Let My Children Hear Mingus
The Kennedy Center celebrates jazz icon and social activist Charles Mingus at 100. Through performances and conversations, learn how his outsized personality and inimitable style pushed boundaries and paved the way for future generations.

Musician Questlove sitting at a drum kit performing.

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.

A man next to a telescope pointed at the sky.

NOVA: Star Chasers of Senegal
A visionary astronomer in West Africa attempts a high-stakes observation of a distant asteroid vital to a NASA mission.

Ron Carter from behind playing a bass with the show logo superimposed over the image.

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.

Featured Passport ProgramsBlue Passport logo

The Passport member benefit allows you to watch your favorite programs anytime, on any screen. Learn more about Passport.

A composite image showing an elderly Marnie Lang Kirkland in front of images of her in her youth along with a burning cross and other historical images of racism.

100 Years from Mississippi
Mamie Lang Kirkland left Mississippi at seven years old to escape racial violence and did not return until a century later.

From behind an illustration of a church with a steeple, the sun radiates outward in multi-colored sections designed to look like stained glass. In the foreground are a minister, choir member, and three others.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
This intimate two-part, four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the 400-year-old story of the black church in America.

A close-up of Dave Chapelle in large, squarish black glasses and a black leather jacket.

Dave Chappelle: The Mark Twain Prize
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.

A black-and-white photo of Jackie Robinson with a young boy on his lap, a young girl at his side, being hugged by a young woman, with an older woman seated next to Jackie and the boy.

Jackie Robinson — Parts 1 & 2
Robinson rose from humble origins to cross baseball’s color line and become one of the most beloved men in America. A fierce integrationist, Robinson used his fame to speak out against discrimination.

A close-up of Billie Holiday singing at an old-fashioned silver microphone with light lines across the image for mood.

Jazz — A Ken Burns series
Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns takes an in-depth look at jazz, the most original American art form, in this miniseries.

A woman in a white blouse, tan long skirt, and a long peach-colored apron strides toward the camera on a path with sugar cane plants on either side of her.

The Long Song on Masterpiece
This three-part series based on Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel follows a slave and her mistress.

A woman seen from the side smiling to herself with many lines of various colors superimposed over the image of the woman's face.

Making Black America: Through the Grapevine
As early as 1775, free Black people in the North and South built towns, established schools and held conventions – creating networks to address the political, economic, and social needs of the Black community.

Muhammad Ali looking back over his left shoulder. Next to his face are the words: MUHAMMAD ALI A FILM BY SARAH BURNS & DAVID McMahon.

Muhammad Ali
This documentary brings to life the iconic heavyweight boxing champion who became an inspiration to people everywhere.

Tina Turner in a fitted black dress with her head turned to the side.

Tina Turner: One Last Time
In 2000, Tina Turner’s final UK concert was filmed at London’s Wembley Stadium. Turner’s inspiring, powerful performance made it an unforgettable event.

An old photo of William Still in a white shirt, dark tie and coat.

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story
This is the story of a Philadelphia clerk who risked his life shepherding runaway slaves to freedom in the years leading up to America’s Civil War.

An old photo of Jack Johnson bare-chested in a boxing pose.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Follow Jack Johnson’s remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Galveston, Texas, as the son of former slaves, to the world of professional boxing.

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