July 18, 2024

What Black Stories Tell Us About America’s History & Its Future: Democracy & Civil Rights Documentaries on WORLD – WORLD Channel

At a time in American history when uplifting Black voices is necessary for true progress, WORLD honors the past – trailblazers like Fannie Lou Hamer and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and their groundbreaking work; recognizes the present – social movements that grew from a moment; and eyes the future with hope during Black History Month.
This February, we pay tribute to the activists and notables, as well as those less recognized, who put their lives on the line for social justice as Eyes on the Prize returns to WORLD. The award-winning landmark series recounts the comprehensive story of the civil rights movement with two back-to-back episodes every Thursday starting at 8/7c through mid-March (America ReFramed returns to its original time slot with Fannie Lou Hamer’s America on March 21).
New films include four from Local, USA that explore the Black experience in America: In the Bubble with Jaime follows the 2020 Senate campaign of candidate Jaime Harrison against incumbent Lindsey Graham; FIRSTHAND: Segregation examines how segregation and Chicago’s policies and practices are still being felt in Black neighborhoods; and two episodes of HBCU Week share the spirit, history and culture of HBCUs across the country. Plus, watch three new installments of Stories from Stage featuring stories of love, laughs and life-changing moments.
Over the course of this month, watch new documentaries and stream old favorites that encourage us to follow in the footsteps of those before us while also creating new paths for an equitable America.
The definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life. Narrated by political leader and civil rights activist Julian Bond, watch how these brave Americans embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. 
In South Carolina, African American candidate Jaime Harrison faces incumbent Lindsey Graham for U.S. Senate. As COVID-19 disrupts, Harrison confronts not only the pandemic but deep-rooted racial prejudice. But, in a state with a significant African American population, his campaign against Graham becomes a symbol of hope in a time of crisis, intertwining politics and race and health challenges. Watch an interview with director Emily Harrold and executive producer Charlamagne Tha God.
In Chicago, segregation casts a long shadow. Delve into the profound impact on housing, education, healthcare and economic equality as this film exposes the high cost in lives lost and unfulfilled potential, revealing the pressing need to address these divisions in one of America’s most segregated cities. Through personal stories, it showcases the power of individuals to drive positive change as residents strive for a more integrated and equitable community.
Sending out love vibes can be risky business. When we open up to the possibility of being in love, we can find ourselves at our most vulnerable…and at chance of getting hurt. Laura Lapointe looks for love on the dance floor; Zoey Dering turns up the heat at a Christian singles group; and Sufian Zhemukhov travels across the world, meets his love – and faces the truth. 

From inside the heart of HBCUs, experience the CIAA in Maryland, a cornerstone of Black athletics history, and feel the electrifying atmosphere of Louisiana’s Bayou Classic – an annual showdown between Grambling State and Southern University. This episode offers a unique look beyond sports, highlighting the culture, history, and community spirit that define HBCUs.
Life can be serious, but when the tears dry, the dust settles and the scars fade, sometimes we can find the funny side of things. Jennifer Baker shares the story of her parents’ 50-year marriage through the tale of a doomed onion (yes, you read that right!); Steph Dalwin explores the humor of life through the traditions of her immigrant, mixed-race family; and Jason Webb gets busted for throwing down dance moves on private property.

Who decides which stories get told? A scrappy group of women and LGBTQ+ journalists buck the white male-dominated status quo, banding together to launch The 19th*, a digital news startup aiming to combat misinformation. A story of an America in flux, and the voices often left out of the narrative, the film shows that change doesn’t come easy.
Dive into HBCU football culture and witness the rivalry of Hampton and Howard, a testament to tradition and spirit, and appreciate the intensity of an NC A&T vs. NC Central game, a match steeped in proximity and pride. This episode showcases the blend of camaraderie and competition that defines HBCU sports, highlighting their impact on African American communities.
Our lives can change forever in the blink of an eye: We meet a stranger and make a life-long connection; we try something new and find our place in the world; or we simply take a chance – and turn our world upside down. Joy Lindsay rediscovers a community she had left behind; Lee-Ellen Marvin finds kinship in the aftermath of an earthquake; and Gerard Quintanar receives a diagnosis that immediately alters everything.

From fateful dates to unexpected connections, romance is sparked in the most unbelievable way. It also makes for a memorable story. Jeff crosses the globe to meet his Internet love; Nimisha breaks her parents’ rules and dates outside her Indian culture; and Rob dons a costume to get noticed by a basketball star. 
On the 100th anniversary of the crime, learn about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and how the community is coming to terms with its past, present and future.
Explores the complex issue of reparations in the U.S. through a thoughtful approach to history, historical injustices, systemic inequities and critical dialogue on racial conciliation. With personal narratives, community inquiries and scholarly insights, the film aims to inspire understanding of the scope and rationale of the reparations debate.
Established by Congress, the 14th Amendment promised citizenship in exchange for enlistment, prompting many African American men. They were denied due to Jim Crow laws but still served. The film examines the profound and often-contradictory roles played by Buffalo Soldiers in U.S. history, and how they fought on two sets of front lines: military conflicts abroad and civil rights struggles at home.
A portrait of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Through public speeches, personal interviews and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist, the film explores and celebrates the lesser-known life of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest leaders.
Many complicated, opposing and controversial viewpoints are often presented about Africans, African Americans and people of the African diaspora. At the forefront in bringing informative and entertaining films about modern life in the African Diaspora to television audiences in the U.S., AfroPoP explores the stories Black communities, performers, leaders and more.
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Enjoy our content? Consider donating to keep important storytelling like this going, and find more on PBS Passport.
Black history is American history. As we renew our collective commitment to lifting up the stories of Black movement makers and culture creators who define our world. Celebrate Black History Month with stories of leaders, artists, and everyday individuals making waves.
This month, The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special makes its television debut. Use this watch party kit as a resource to find all the ways to engage with the premiere, from watching the film live and streaming it online to joining timely, candid discussions with the filmmakers and subjects of the film.
As institutions and organizations across the country recognize the historical and cultural significance of HBUCs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) during nationally-recognized HBCU Week programs, WORLD presents Maryland Public Television (MPT)’s HBCU Week programming initiative with films following the athletics, music and legacies of HBCUs.
Fannie Lou Hamer's America explores and celebrates the lesser-known life of a Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist and one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest leaders.
The 1987 Oscar-nominated Eyes On The Prize documents the comprehensive history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. The landmark series is told in 14 parts through the firsthand experiences of ordinary people whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the American landscape.
Celebrating a notable 15th season, AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange returns with five films, spotlighting the power of Black art and how it reflects realities, restores spirits, celebrates triumphs, issues calls to action and unites people across around the world.
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