Docs

PBS to air documentary films, specials on race and racism in America

U.S. pubcaster PBS is set to rebroadcast films from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson‘s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, as well as a playlist of programs exploring ...
June 3, 2020

U.S. pubcaster PBS is set to rebroadcast films from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson‘s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, as well as a playlist of programs exploring racism from ‘Frontline,’ ‘POV,’ ‘Independent Lens’ and more.

The lineup is a response to the May 25th death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, and the ensuing wave of marches and demonstrations across the country.

The Talk – Race in America will air on June 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, a 2017 documentary that shares six stories of people of color and law enforcement in the U.S., and how families of colour must conduct “The Talk” with their children on how to interact with police.

The PBS Newshour Special Race Matters: America in Crisis will debut on June 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, and featuring senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the one-hour program will focus on the frustration and outrage over police brutality and the country’s systemic racism.

‘Frontline’ doc Policing the Police will follow at 10 p.m. ET/PT, a rebroadcast that sees writer and historian Jelani Cobb examining the Newark Police Department’s abuse allegations.

On June 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, ‘Great Performances’ episode Twilight: Los Angeles will encore with Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman theater piece on the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King verdict, which is woven with news footage and interviews.

PBS will also air America in Black and Blue 2020, on PBS stations on June 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It will feature correspondents reporting from across the country and includes interviews with key leaders and participants in the struggle for racial justice, accountability and equity, as well as context from law enforcement officials. It will update reporting from the 2016 specials America in Black and Blue and The Talk – Race in America. 

This week, PBS and member stations will rebroadcast or stream a full slate of films on the history of injustices within the Black community, with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, and Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, meanwhile, will also be available. Both filmmakers will offer their insights into the current events and historical origins.

Both of their films will also be featured in special curated collections that will stream for free on PBS.org, including Always in Season, Charm City, I Am Not Your Negro, and POV’s Whose Streets?, which looks at the Ferguson uprising in 2014.

“As a media system that serves every person in America, we stand with the Black community, and we stand against racism and hate,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, in a statement. “In the coming days and weeks, we will use our national reach and community presence to deepen understanding, foster conversation and enable meaningful change. And we will continue to stand behind our courageous journalists, whose unwavering commitment to speak truth to power is essential to the strength of our democracy.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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