In honor of Black History Month 2020, CPTV and CPTV Spirit will feature a number of special programs throughout February. Tune in for new episodes from series like Independent Lens and American Masters, special encores from Secrets of the Dead and American Experience, select episodes of Finding Your Roots, a new documentary from PBS with Connecticut connections, and more.
Finding Your Roots – Family Reunions
Wednesday, February 5 at 7 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Uncover family mysteries about two legends of hip hop, Sean Combs and LL Cool J, through the use of DNA technology that reveals information that shakes their very foundations.
Independent Lens – The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Wednesday, February 5 at 10 p.m. on CPTV Spirit and Sunday, February 16 at 12 p.m. on CPTV; Also available to stream on CPTV and PBS streaming platforms throughout the month of February
Revisit the turbulent 1960s, when a new revolutionary culture emerged with the Black Panther Party at the vanguard. Stanley Nelson tells the vibrant story of a pivotal movement that feels timely all over again.
The Public Television Feature Film Collection – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Saturday, February 8 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m. on CPTV, encoring Friday, February 21 at 9 p.m. and Saturday, February 22 at 5:30 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
A couple’s attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African American fiancé. Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy star in this groundbreaking film from 1967.
Fake Or Fortune? – A Double Whodunnit (NEW)
Monday, February 10 at 10 p.m. on CPTV, encoring Wednesday, February 12 at 9 p.m. on CPTV Spirit, Thursday, February 13 at 5 p.m. on CPTV Spirit, and Saturday, February 15 at 7 p.m. on CPTV
Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate two rare portraits of black British subjects from the 18th and 19th centuries. Painted with extraordinary skill and sophistication, both pieces of art are highly unusual in their positive depiction of black sitters at a time when Britain was still heavily engaged in slavery.
Finding Your Roots – Slave Trade (NEW)
Tuesday, February 11 at 8 p.m. on CPTV
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. journeys with film director Ava DuVernay, actor S. Epatha Merkerson, and musician Questlove to the unexpected places where their ancestors were scattered by slavery, upending their notions of African American history.
The Fight: American Experience
Tuesday, February 11 at 9 p.m. on CPTV
On June 22, 1938, 70,000 fans crammed into Yankee stadium to watch what some observers have since called “the most important sporting event in history.” Millions more tuned in to hear a blow-by-blow description on the radio. The rematch between the African American heavyweight Joe Louis and his German opponent Max Schmeling was riveting. But for most spectators, the fight was much more than a boxing match; it was an historic event freighted with symbolic significance, both a harbinger of the civil rights movement and a prelude to World War II.
Independent Lens – I Am Not Your Negro
Tuesday, February 11 at 11 p.m. on CPTV
This film envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a revolutionary and personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Finding Your Roots – The Vanguard
Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and author and activist Janet Mock see their basic assumptions about their families challenged, placing their ancestors – of all colors – into the greater context of black history.
Independent Lens – Cooked: Survival By Zip Code (NEW)
Wednesday, February 12 at 10 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Learn the story of a heat wave that overtook Chicago in July 1995, killing 739 residents, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. The heat wave revealed a long-term crisis of poverty, racism, and economic and social isolation in the city.
Finding Your Roots – Black Like Me
Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Bryant Gumbel, Tonya Lewis-Lee, and Suzanne Malveaux discover a tapestry of the unexpected in their ancestries, revealing slaves and free people of color, Civil War legacies, and forgotten European origins.
The Democracy Rebellion: A Reporter’s Notebook with Hedrick Smith (NEW)
Wednesday, February 19 at 10 p.m. on CPTV Spirit, encoring Sunday, February 23 at 10 a.m. on CPTV
Journalist Hedrick Smith travels the country looking for positive stories of democratic reform and finds them in six states — including Connecticut — where grassroots activists are fighting to equal the playing field. Connecticut individuals and organizations featured in the program include State Sen. Gary Winfield, 10th District (pictured); State Sen. Marilyn Moore, 22nd District, who is also the founder of non-profit that helps black women battling breast cancer; Mark Pazniokas, former reporter for The Hartford Courant; Karen Hobert Flynn, former chair of Common Cause CT; Michael Brandi, executive director of the Citizens’ Election Program; and the organization Connecticut Citizen Action Group.
Independent Lens – Always in Season (NEW)
Monday, February 24 at 10 p.m. on CPTV
In 2014, African American teenager Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set. His mother believes he was lynched. Stark inconsistencies and few answers from officials drive her to lead efforts in what has become an ongoing fight for the truth.
Miles Davis: American Masters (NEW)
Tuesday, February 25 at 9 p.m. on CPTV
Discover the man behind the legend. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos, and new interviews.
Secrets of the Dead – Woman in the Iron Coffin
Tuesday, February 25 at 9 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Follow a team of forensic experts as they investigate the preserved remains of a young African American woman from 19th century New York and reveal the little-known story of early America’s free black communities.
Independent Lens – Chasing Trane
Tuesday, February 25 at 11 p.m. on CPTV
Chasing Trane is about an outside-the-box thinker whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. This portrait of a remarkable jazz artist reveals the critical events, passions, experiences, and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds.
Finding Your Roots – Freedom Tales
Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m. on CPTV Spirit
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. delves deep into the roots of two African American guests: actor S. Epatha Merkerson and athlete and television personality Michael Strahan. Both discover unexpected stories that challenge assumptions about black history.