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Black History Month

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WNYC honors Black History Month throughout February with special programming.

Additional Black History Month program segments and stories from New York Public Radio.



  • Still Swinging, Still Classic: A Musical Biography of Pioneering Pianist Hazel Scott is a musical portrait of the wife of late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Julliard-trained pianist who performed in the most prestigious concert halls in the world. Known as the “darling of Café Society,” Hazel Scott became a trailblazer in Hollywood; an outspoken civil rights activist which made her a political target; and ultimately, an outcast, ostracized by the Church community because of her music.
    Airs February 14 at 8PM AM 820 and 93.9 FM and February 20 at 4PM on 93.9 FM
  • A Musical Biography of Bill T. Jones  -  The legendary artistic director, choreographer and dancer reminisces about listening to B.B. King back when he and his parents pulled potatoes as migrant workers; discovering Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez at college; and sharing Barbra Streisand recordings with his late partner, Arnie Zane, with whom he founded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
    Airs February 19 at 6AM on 93.9 FM and 2PM on AM 820 and February 20 at 8PM on AM 820
  • Back of The Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality -  In the '60s, highway projects nearly destroyed African American communities. Now in this collaborative reporting project from Transportation Nation and WNYC, "Back of the Bus" investigates why America's people of color still struggle for equal treatment in public transportation.
    Airs February 12 at 6AM on 93.9 FM and 2PM on AM820, February 13 at 8PM on AM 820, and February 16 at 8PM on AM 820 and 93.9 FM
  • State Of Siege: Mississippi Whites And The Civil Rights Movement - This new American RadioWorksprogram shines a light on the stories and strategies of the white opponents in Mississippi during the '60s, including their extraordinary tactics used to battle integration—and the legacy they left.
    Airs February 17 at 8PM on AM 820 and 93.9 FM
  • Maya Angelou: My Soul Looks Back - Maya Angelou celebrates Black History Month by hosting a special program on public radio. Special guests include Chris Rock, Lee Daniels, Common and Cornel West.
    Airs February 18 at 8PM on AM 820 and 93.9FM
  • Say It Plain - A Century of Great African American Speeches - This American RadioWorks program highlights a selection of landmark sermons, speeches and broadcasts by African American orators over the past century. From Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey, to Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X, to Shirley Chisholm and Julian Bond, listeners will hear the stirring words of African American figures as they call for action on civil rights and the unmet promise of democracy.
    Airs February 5 at 6AM on 93.9 FM and 2PM on AM 820, and February 6 at 8pm AM 820
  • State of the Re: Union: Who Is This ManDr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”  is an iconic moment in the history of civil rights. But this historic moment may have never happened if it weren’t for a man standing in King’s shadow, Bayard Rustin, a man with a number of seemingly incompatible labels: black, gay, Quaker.  Although he had numerous passions and pursuits, his most transformative act, was to counsel MLK on the use of non-violent resistance.  Rustin also helped to engineer the March on Washington and frame the Montgomery bus boycott. Why is Rustin not synonymous with Civil Rights? This program is hosted by Al Letson.
    Airs February 26 at 6AM on 93.9 FM and 2PM on AM820 and February 27 at 8PM on AM820
  • The Tavis Smiley Show : Memories of the Movement - From known icons, to lesser known leaders, hear from the men and women who served on the frontlines or behind the scenes share their painful, poignant and personal memories of the Civil Rights Movement. A two-part series.
    Airs February 5 and February 12 at 4PM on AM 820