Featuring interviews with historians and filmmakers such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Spike Lee, Birth of a Movement is based on the book The Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights by Dick Lehr. The documentary tells the little-known story of William Trotter, an African American journalist who launched a protest against the 1915 release of D. W. Griffith’s controversial epic, which laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement to come.
On February 10, PBS will air Smokey Robinson, which is hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and will include an interview with Motown founder Berry Gordy and performances by many artists including BeBe Winans, Ledisi, and CeeLo Green.
On February 20, watch the two-hour documentary The Talk: Race in America. It examines some of the victims who died during encounters with police officers. The film illustrates the issue from multiple points of view: parent, child, the police, and the community. The film includes interviews with well-known filmmakers and actors including actress Rosie Perez, director/screenwriter/producer John Singleton, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, and Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by the Cleveland police in a local park.
On Tuesday, February 21, American Masters presents Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, the first documentary about Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Also airing throughout February is the second season of the PBS original series Mercy Street on Sundays at 8 p.m. The Civil War-era drama is about the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, VA, and the Mansion House Hospital in the early years of the Civil War.
From February 27 through March 1, from 9 to 11 p.m., Louis Gates Jr. will narrate Africa’s Great Civilizations.
Please check local listings for more information.