Archive for Thursday, January 25, 2001

TV celebrates black history

Channels mark February with variety of documentaries, reruns and movies

January 25, 2001


— Television barely dips a toe into the breadth and depth of black experience, so some amends are made in February in honor of Black History Month.

Broadcast networks tend to leave the job to local stations, but many cable channels make an effort to explore black life, issues and history.

New movies and documentaries are just part of the picture.

Nickelodeon's, channel 37 on Sunflower Cablevision, Nick at Night is getting into the act each Friday with classic sitcom episodes focusing on racial attitudes. There's a real gem Feb. 2 at 10:30 p.m.: the "All in the Family" episode in which Sammy Davis Jr. and Archie Bunker collide.

Court TV, channel 76, is recognizing black contributions to the legal profession with individual tributes sandwiched between its programming throughout the month.

More highlights:

"From Swastika to Jim Crow," 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, on PBS, channels 7 and 11. The documentary tells the story of German Jewish professors who were expelled by the Nazis and found new careers and relationships at black colleges in the South.

"Homes of Our Heritage: African-American Visionaries," 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, Home & Garden Television, channel 45. The homes of such notable figures as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. are featured.

"Dancing in September," 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, HBO, channel 29. A writer (Nicole Ari Parker) manages to sell a TV sitcom that honestly depicts black life, then finds her integrity tested by network demands. Reggie Rock Bythewood ("New York Undercover") wrote and directed the film.

"Bojangles," 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, Showtime, channel 30. Actor-dancer Gregory Hines stars as the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who was a rare black solo performer in vaudeville and on Broadway and extended his reach into radio and film.

"Modern Masters: African-American Artisans," 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, Home & Garden Television. Outstanding artists share their work and what inspires them, among them wood carver Charles Dickson of Los Angeles; clay artist David McDonald of Syracuse, N.Y., and basket weaver Henrietta Snype of Charleston, S.C.

"Journeys in Black," BET's new biographical profile series, channel 55, looks at the careers of rap mogul Russell Simmons (7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6); hip hop artist Master P (6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13); gospel star CeCe Winans (7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27).

"Goin' to Chicago," 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, PBS. The documentary examines the extraordinary internal U.S. migration that carried many blacks from the South to the North.

"They Call Me Sirr," 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, Showtime. Kente Scott and Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile") star in a drama chronicling the high school years of National Football League player Sirr Parker and his struggle to excel in sports while raising his young brother alone.

"Crossing the Bridge," 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, History Channel, channel 61. The documentary details the March 1965 day when state police clashed with civil rights marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., and turned the small town into a symbol of oppression.

"Boycott," 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, on HBO. The film dramatizes the pivotal moment in civil rights history in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in a "whites only" section of a Montgomery, Ala., public bus. Real footage is woven into the drama starring Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard, CCH Pounder and Carmen Ejogo. Clark Johnson ("Homicide: Life on the Street") directed.

"Black Aviators: Flying Free," 9 p.m. Saturday, March 3, History Channel. The documentary recounts the lives of such aviation pioneers as Eugene Bullard, who joined the French Air Service during World War I and was awarded France's highest honor, and Bessie Coleman, who trained to fly abroad and returned to America to open a flight school.

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