Starting this month and running through Black History Month (February 2010), PBS will be running a collection of new and encore programs looking at African American life and culture. Included in the new programming to air on PBS will be Tavis Smiley Reports, a primetime series of four hour-long specials which starts January 27 with Smiley accompanying Secretary of State Hillary Clinton behind the scenes at the State Department. Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. will investigate the ancestry of 11 renowned Americans including poet Elizabeth Alexander and writer Malcolm Gladwell in a new four-part series Faces of America, and ‘Independent Lens’ will air two new films on the subject of race in February: Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, which looks at the legacy of Jewish anthropologist Melville Herskovits and his ideas from the ’40s and ’50s which challenged the accepted views on race and culture, and Behind the Rainbow which examines the political obstacles on the path to South Africa’s democracy. In addition, a concert from the White House in honor of the Civil Rights Movement will air on February 11, featuring Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Smokey Robinson and the Blind Boys of Alabama. In mid-January the PBS Video Portal will release a special collection for Black History Month 2010.
- RS West ’18