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WKAR To Address Race And Racism In America Through Broadcast And Streaming Content

PBS NewsHour
Race Matters: America in Crisis

WKAR will broadcast a series of films and new specials focused on race in America following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the ensuing protests that erupted across the country and in Michigan’s Capital Region.

In addition, PBS will curate a playlist of programs from FRONTLINE, POV, INDEPENDENT LENS and other iconic series that that explore the impact of racism on Black Americans and the country as a whole. The list includes films focused on African American history by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson.

PBS KIDS offers families resources to discuss race, racism, civil rights, current events and more with young children, including a virtual event on YouTube on Tuesday, Jun.9 at 3:30 p.m. ET with parents, teachers and child development experts.

“As a media system that serves every person in America, we stand with the Black community, and we stand against racism and hate," said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. "In the coming days and weeks, we will use our national reach and community presence to deepen understanding, foster conversation and enable meaningful change. And we will continue to stand behind our courageous journalists, whose unwavering commitment to speak truth to power is essential to the strength of our democracy.”

“We learn from listening to those who are brave enough to tell their stories even in the face of the most harrowing and heartbreaking circumstances,” said Susi Elkins, general manager and director of broadcasting for WKAR Public Media. “WKAR has cultivated these programs and resources to shed light on the injustices the Black community has endured for centuries and to encourage us all to work toward a more just future.”

Race Matters: America In Crisis, A PBS Newshour Special
Fri. Jun. 5 at 9 p.m. ET on WKAR TV 23.1
The one-hour program will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff with contributions from senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Race Matters: America In Crisis will focus on the frustration pouring out onto American streets, outrage about police brutality, and America’s deep systemic racial disparities in the economy, education, criminal justice system and health care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will also include grassroots voices from around the country and roundtable conversations with thought leaders and other newsmakers.

The Talk – Race In America
Fri. Jun. 5, 10 p.m. ET, WKAR TV 23.1
Wed. Jun. 10,  7 p.m. ET, WKAR World 23.2
Thu. Jun. 11,  2 a.m. ET, WKAR World 23.2

The documentary, which first aired in 2017, tells six stories of struggle between people of color and law enforcement in America. It chronicles how families of color attempt to protect their children with “The Talk” — about what to do and how to react if they are stopped by police.

Great Performances: Twilight Los Angeles
Mon. Jun. 8, 10 p.m. ET on WKAR TV 23.1
Tue. Jun. 9, 1:30 a.m. ET on WKAR TV 23.1

Anna Deavere Smith’s powerful one-woman theater piece gives a riveting account of the violent aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King verdict and the lasting impact of the Los Angeles riots on America’s conscience. Award-winning director Marc Levin weaves Smith’s stage performance with news footage and interviews to create a portrait of rage, sorrow, loss and battered hope.

FRONTLINE: Policing the Police
Wed. Jun.10, 9 p.m. ET on WKAR World 23.2
Thu. Jun.11, 2 a.m. ET on WKAR World 23.2

Writer and historian Jelani Cobb examines allegations of abuses within the Newark Police Department and the challenge of fixing its broken relationship with the community. Originally aired June 2016.

America In Black And Blue 2020
Mon. Jun.15, 9 p.m. ET on WKAR TV 23.1
Tue. Jun. 16, 1:30 a.m. ET on WKAR TV 23.1

America in Black and Blue 2020 will report from across the country and include interviews with key leaders and participants in the struggle for racial justice, accountability and equity, as well as voices from law enforcement. As the latest crisis of police violence on Black citizens — and outraged protests and ensuing violence — engulfs the nation, this PBS special will bring context and insight. It will update reporting from the original America In Black And Blue, which first aired in 2016, as well as The Talk - Race In America. Correspondents will report from Minneapolis, Georgia, New York and elsewhere, and interviews from PBS NewsHour Weekend, Amanpour And Company, and other PBS national and local programming will be included.

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
Wed. Jun. 17 and Jun. 24, 2 p.m. on WKAR World 23.2
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today.


PBS, WKAR and member stations nationwide will this week begin streaming a full slate of films about the history of injustices within the African American community. Films from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. include The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross, a chronicle of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable events; Reconstruction: America After The Civil War, a four-part series that explores the transformative years when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss and African Americans forged a new, more equal place in American social and political life, only to face the backlash of segregation and institutionalized disempowerment whose legacy persists today; and Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, a detailed exploration of how the civil rights movement impacted the country, including successes and failures related to political and economic equality.

PBS will also provide Stanley Nelson’s award-winning Independent Lens film The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution, a riveting look at an earlier era of conflict and how the Black Panthers provided community services while advocating for more radical national change.

All films will also be available for streaming on station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. WKAR members will be available to view all episodes via WKAR Passport.

In addition to the broadcasts, films from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson will be included as part of a special curated collection streaming free on PBS.org. The filmmakers will offer their insights into the events currently gripping the country and historical origins for greater context. The programs below will also be included as part of the curated collection, with titles provided in association with Black Public Media.


  • Always in Season. A grieving mother embarks on a quest for racial justice after her teenage son’s suspicious death.
  • Charm City. Get to know the people on the front lines of three years of unparalleled violence in Baltimore.
  • The First Rainbow Coalition. Notable community groups in 1960s Chicago bridge race and ethnicity to form a surprising alliance.
  • I Am Not Your Negro. Explore James Baldwin’s unfinished book about race in America in this Oscar-nominated documentary.

John Lewis – Get In The Way
Follow the courageous journey of John Lewis, from his youth in the segregated South, through his leadership within the Civil Rights movement, to his current role as a powerful voice in Congress.

POV “Whose Streets?”
Take an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising, told by the activists leading the movement.

PBS American Portrait
The signature programming and engagement initiative of the network’s 50th anniversary, American Portrait invites people across the country to share their stories about race and current events with a new prompt, “Now is the time...” Stories can be uploaded to American Portrait at PBS.org/americanportrait and may be included in a featured collection of personal stories from Americans grappling with racism and its impact, past and present. PBS American Portrait will air two new specials this fall and a four-part docuseries in January 2021 that spotlight American stories, including how the far-reaching impact of the events of 2020 have affected our everyday lives.


PBS KIDS will offer families resources to discuss race, racism, civil rights, current events and more with young children, including a virtual event on YouTube on Tuesday, June 9, at 3:30 p.m. ET with parents, teachers and child development experts.

PBS LEARNINGMEDIA will offer materials to help educators talk with students about race in America and current events, including classroom-ready resources for a variety of grade levels aligned to state and national standards. Professional learning materials for educators will also be available later this month.


In the spirit of providing resources and information on topics exploring race in America, PBS DIGITAL STUDIOS will curate a themed playlist featuring wide-ranging content from some of its most popular series, including Say It Loud, Above The Noise, Origin Of Everything and Crash Course. Programs explore “The Origin Of Race In The USA,” “Should We Police Our Police,” “The Reason #BlackTwitter Exists (And Is Totally Awesome),” “What Does Resistance Look Like” and many more.

Did you know that 40% of Michigan third graders have trouble with reading? Join WKAR in our efforts to increase youth literacy. Every donation of $60 or more provides a reading kit to a child in our community, and funds another year of local journalism. Donate today!