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Historically Black

American Public Media

Thursday, February 9, 16, and 23 at 7:00 pm:
The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture has opened up a world of stories that visitors are flocking to discover. Historically Black, a series produced by APM Reports, tells some of these stories, revealing intimate and surprising aspects of history.

For more images, links and information, visit historicallyblack.tumblr.com.

February 9 – Hosted by Keegan-Michael Key and Roxane Gay

NASA Human Computers - During World War II, a labor shortage obliged the military to hire African American women with mathematical skills to help make complicated computations for warplane designs. This small team faced discrimination, but would help NASA astronauts land on the moon.

Million Man March - The Million Man March of 1995 is remembered in a conversation between a young woman and her father, who attended it.

Harlem Renaissance Photographer - James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century. During the Harlem Renaissance, his images emphasized the dignity and beauty of black people at a time when the dominant culture portrayed them in degrading ways.

February 16 - Hosted by Issa Rae and Another Round podcast duo Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton

Slave Bill of Sale - Members of an extended Tennessee family talk about their great-great-grandfather, a slave owned by his white, biological father. Family members reflect on the strength it took to survive slavery and to prosper in the years that followed Emancipation.

Missouri Fiddler - A young musician and actor discovers that his great-great-grandfather was Bill Driver, a celebrated fiddler in Missouri. Family members recall how Driver’s fiddle playing often brought blacks and whites together at country dances and fiddle contests. They also reveal the complicated nature of interracial mixing in the Jim Crow era.

HBCU Founder - William Hooper Councill was a former slave who served as the first president of what would become Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities in the country. Negotiating the race politics of Reconstruction was sometimes dangerous work; Councill used his skills at writing and oratory to call for the uplift of his race.

February 23 - Hosted by Roxane Gay and podcast duo Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton

The Question of Black Identity - This episode explores the question of black identity in America through the voices of four people who, at one time or another, have had to answer the question: “What are you?”

Black Love Stories - This story spotlights enduring love among African American couples. It dives into the history of marriage among black Americans — including the time when it was illegal for slaves to wed. It also explores why it matters that these stories are visible in pop culture today.