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Don't Miss These Programs for Black History Month

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Celebrate Black History Month this year with a closer look at the lives of various Black Americans who have made indelible marks on history with their artistry, professional achievements, and community activism. Below are programs premiering this month on WHRO TV 15, airing on WHRV FM, or available to stream on WHRO Passport. 

Stream Before It Airs

Gospel Dig deep into the origin story of Black gospel music, coming out of slavery, blending with the blues tradition, and soaring to new heights during the Great Migration. From Mahalia to Kirk Franklin, gospel music has become the dominant form of African American religious expression in the last century and provided a soundtrack of healing and uplifting to those at the front lines of protest and change.

Gospel airs on WHRO TV 15 on February 12 at 9 p.m., but members with WHRO Passport can watch it ahead of time. Stream all four episodes beginning Sunday, February 4.

New Documentaries

Independent Lens: Razing Liberty Square Liberty City, Miami, is home to one of the oldest segregated public housing projects in the United States. Now with rising sea levels, the neighborhood's higher ground has become something else: real estate gold.

America Reframed: The Cost of Inheritance The Cost of Inheritance explores the complex issue of reparations in the U.S. using a thoughtful approach to history, historical injustices, systemic inequities, and critical dialogue on racial conciliation. Through personal narratives, community inquiries, and scholarly insights, it aims to inspire understanding of the scope and rationale of the reparations debate.

American Experience: The Busing Battleground The Busing Battleground viscerally captures the class tensions and racial violence that ensued when Black and white students in Boston were bused for the first time between neighborhoods to comply with a federal desegregation order.

POV: Brief Tender Light A Ghanaian MIT alum follows four African students at his alma mater as they strive to become agents of change for their home countries Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Over an intimate, nearly decade-long journey, all must decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.

Independent Lens: Racist Trees Were trees intentionally planted to exclude and segregate a Black neighborhood? Racial tensions ignite in this documentary, when a historically Black neighborhood in Palm Springs, California, fights to remove a towering wall of tamarisk trees. The trees form a barrier, believed by some to segregate the community, frustrating residents who regard them as an enduring symbol of racism.

From WHRO Producers

Uprooted In the 1960s, residents wanted a thriving Black neighborhood in Newport News, Virginia, to keep growing. White city leaders wanted that land for a new college. Only one side had the power of eminent domain. The Johnsons, one of the last families in the neighborhood, tell the nearly forgotten story of a college expansion like the ones that broke up Black communities across Virginia and the country.

The Historic Attucks Theatre: Apollo of the South One of Hampton Roads' greatest treasures, the Attucks Theatre, turns 100 years old. Musicians of the greatest caliber have performed at the Attucks, legends like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole just to name a few. The 600 seat venue was an instant source of pride to Norfolk's Black Community. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Church Street: Harlem of the South (requires WHRO Passport) Church Street gained the reputation as the "Harlem of the South" because it was the center for live entertainment in the South. Live performances, movie houses and street music reigned supreme for Norfolk residents and outlying communities. The likes of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong helped garner a national reputation for Church Street, along with the Attucks Theater and the Plaza Hotel.

Streaming on WHRO Passport

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 Hip Hop's socially conscious roots. From The Message to Fight The Power 2020, he examines how Hip Hop has become "the Black CNN."

American Masters: Roberta Flack Follow music icon Roberta Flack from a piano lounge through her rise to stardom. From "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" to "Killing Me Softly," Flack's virtuosity was inseparable from her commitment to civil rights. Detailing her story in her own words, the film features exclusive access to Flack's archives and interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Peabo Bryson and more.

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.

Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future Celebrate the rich history of Black roles and voices on Broadway with an all-star cast including Stephanie Mills, Nova Payton, Corbin Bleu, Norm Lewis, Tiffany Mann, John Manzari, Amber Iman, Peppermint, Nikki Rene Daniels, Leah Flynn and Sydney James Harcourt.

The Black Church An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song will explore the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.


A Shot of the Blues Paul Shugrue will celebrate BHM every Friday night on A Shot of the Blues with special selections from the torchbearers and trailblazers of Blues in music, civil rights, and social unity and justice. Hear the program on Fridays from 8-10 p.m., or listen on-demand anytime.

Acoustic Highway Acoustic Highway will feature African American artists throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. Local and regional performers will include Narissa Bond, Lawrence Lambert, Cephas and Wiggins, and the MSG Acoustic Blues Trio.  National artists will include Leadbelly, Tracy Chapman, Eric Bibb, Kim and Reggie Harris, Don Flemmons, and Rhianna Giddens. Hear the program on Sundays from 9-10 p.m., or listen on-demand anytime. 


In recognition of Black History Month, WHRO FM will highlight the work of Black composers, conductors and performers throughout the month. Some highlights include:

A Local Touch A Local Touch will feature Black artists with Virginia and Hampton Roads connections, including conductor Paul Freeman, composers Adolphus Hailstork, Nathaniel Dett, and Justin Holland, several choirs from Hampton, and more. Hear the program on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., or listen on-demand anytime. 

Thurs. Feb. 15, 9 p.m.: Crossings, from Classical California Pianist Lara Downes, Classical California Host and Resident Artist, hosts an hour of music by innovative Black composers in honor of Black History Month. Hear how Duke Ellington, William Grant Still, Scott Joplin, Kris Bowers, Florence Price, Adolphus Hailstork, Wynton Marsalis, and Jon Batiste have helped define American classical music. Thurs. Feb. 22, 9 p.m.: Take Me to the Water from American Public Media This special program, hosted by Vernon Neal, focuses on harpist Ashley Jackson’s program Take Me to the Water recorded at American Public Media’s studios. Take Me to the Water is an immersive audio experience that touches on themes from African mythology, the antebellum spiritual tradition and water’s transportive, transmogrifying nature.

From the Top From the Top, hosted by acclaimed concert pianist Christopher O'Riley, showcases the music, stories, and unique humor of America's best young classical musicians. Hear the program on Saturdays at noon, or listen on-demand anytime. 

Sat. 2/10, 12 p.m.: A Celebration of Sphinx This episode celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Sphinx Organization, the Detroit-based, nationally focused social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The episode features musical excerpts from a live performance by critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra, the Sphinx Virtuosi, and stories told by the musicians, leaders, and educators whose lives have been changed by Sphinx. It also explores the pivotal role Sphinx has played in expanding diversity in the arts. Sat. 2/17, 12 p.m.: Black History Month Special In recognition of Black History Month, this highlight program celebrates outstanding performances by Black musicians on From the Top through the years. Hosted by Peter Dugan and David Norville, an alumnus, oboist, and assistant producer at From the Top.

Resources for Families

Black History Month Collection Help your children celebrate and learn about Black History Month with these 20 digital media resources, used by local educators, that cover topics like civil rights events, discussions about race in current events, and black artists and leaders past and present.

Black History Month Resources for Educators and Families Looking for ways to help children celebrate Black History Month? The WHRO Education team has resources to help! Teachers, parents and grandparents can take advantage of these great resources.