See what monthly themes we’re highlighting, find something to watch, and extend the learning with activities from PBS LearningMedia.
Black History Month - Starts February 1
Extra Credit Episode 303: Black History
Available on demand.
Explore the history, heritage, and culture of Black Americans. Content partners include One Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, NASA, The Great American Read, WUCF & Meet The Helpers, American Black Journal & Marcus Green, WCMU Media, and StoryCorps. Featuring student host, Iyan.
Making Black America: Through the Grapevine
Episode 1 airs February 6 at 8:00pm
Also available on demand through PBS Passport.
This four-part series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. chronicles the vast networks and organizations created by and for Black people. The series explores the extraordinary world that showcased Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself.
The Niagara Movement: The Early Battle for Civil Rights
February 9 at 10:00pm
The Niagara Movement is a one-hour documentary focused on the formation and impact of the first civil rights movement of the 20th century. The program traces the social and economic conditions of African Americans at the turn of the 20th century, examines the different strategies for racial advancement led by Black leaders of the time, explores the creation of the Niagara Movement, and places the movement’s legacy into a contemporary context.
Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom
February 9 at 9:00pm
Go beyond the legend and meet the woman who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery. One of the greatest freedom fighters in U.S. history, Tubman was an Underground Railroad conductor, a Civil War scout, and a spy.
On Location With thee Michigan Learning Channel
On Location at a Detroit Historical Archaeology Site available on demand.
Learn about historical archaeology, the study of modern history through archaeology, with Kysta Ryzewski, a professor at Wayne State University. Discover how the trash of a family from the early 1900s can provide insights into the living conditions of their Corktown neighborhood. Additionally, explore the ongoing research and preservation efforts focused on the Detroit home of Malcolm X.
February 9 at 11:00pm
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was raised in the crucible of segregated Birmingham but he was forged by its attempt to kill him. When the KKK planted a bomb underneath his bed and he emerged unharmed, he was sure he was saved by God to lead a Movement. His work not only ended legal segregation but lead directly to the Civil and Voting Rights Acts—and inspired freedom movements around the world.
American Black Journal
Episode 5151 airs February 3 at 8:00pm
We start with a story from contributor Daijah Moss about a local woman who set out to learn about her enslaved ancestors and the families that owned them. Her journey of discovery revealed an interesting ancestral connection and took her to a well-known plantation in South Carolina. Then, Host Stephen Henderson talks with internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs who has consulted with celebrities such as Smokey Robinson and Oprah Winfrey about their family history. Burroughs also published a popular book, “Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree.” He explains to Henderson, who has been on his own personal journey to discover his late father’s ancestral history, that there is a methodology to genealogy and outlines the steps to take when researching your ancestry. They also talk about the unique challenges associated with tracing African American roots and the importance of knowing where you come from.
Episode 5126 airs February 10 at 8:00pm
Host Stephen Henderson and guest, Bishop Mbiyu Chui of the Shrine of the Black Madonna #1, delve into the often-forgotten connection between the city’s Black churches and the massive march for civil rights. Bishop Chui relates the backstory about how racism and violence against Blacks in the South led to the organization of the walk by the Shrine’s founder, Rev. Albert Cleage, Jr. and Rev. C.L. Franklin of New Bethel Baptist Church. They talk about the many voices represented in the Detroit civil rights demonstration, the Black Church’s role has a moral compass for America, and the challenges that remain today — 60 years after the Walk to Freedom.
Episode 5141 airs February 10 at 8:30pm
An historic jazz club in Detroit is getting a massive renovation, thanks to the nonprofit Detroit Sound Conservancy. ABJ contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ was on hand for the groundbreaking celebration for the long-abandoned Blue Bird Inn on the city’s west side. She talks with some of the musicians on hand for the restoration ceremony, including well-known bassist Marion Hayden and her son, drummer Tariq Gardner. Additionally, she hears from members of the community on what the rehab of the club will mean for the surrounding neighborhood.
Episode 5142 airs February 17 at 8:30pm
Two-time Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter sits down for a one-on-one conversation with host Stephen Henderson about her stellar career as a costume designer for such iconic films as Black Panther, Wakanda Forever, Roots, Selma, Malcolm X and many more. The interview takes place at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where an exhibition of Carter’s costume designs is on display through March 31st of next year. They discuss how she became interested in sewing and designing, the inspiration behind her costume designs, and making history as the first Black woman to win multiple Oscars.
Episode 823 airs February 3 at 8:30pm
Rob Edwards, a Detroit-born screenwriter best known for Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and “Treasure Planet,” and the TV shows “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “In Living Color,” has a new graphic novel coming out in February 2024 detailing a little known, yet highly prominent figure of America’s Black history: Robert Smalls.
Episode 820 airs February 17 at 8:00pm
Blast Detroit has launched an innovative program, the EV Automotive Mobility Program, that equips Detroiters with the skills necessary for jobs that will soon be in high demand. The program offers hands-on training in the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles, as well as education in internal combustion engine technology, in an effort to bridge the gap and address the racial disparity within the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Extend the Learning
The Niagara Movement PBS LearningMedia Collection – These lesson plans are designed for middle and high school students (grades 6-12). Some of the themes covered are activism, ideology, the role of women, the Black Press, marginalization, the Jim Crow era, civil rights, and the legacy of the Niagara Movement.
Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom PBS LearningMedia Collection – These film-based inquiry modules are designed to enhance learning and supplement the teaching of a variety of topics and skills. Powered by historical material and compelling documentary footage, students and educators engage with resources that inspire inquiry, empathy, reflection, and social change.
Harriet Tubman: American Icons – In this lesson, students will learn about Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary courage in the face of enormous risks. After watching a biographical video, they will examine a photograph of Tubman and read a letter written to her by Frederick Douglass. The lesson culminates with students comparing Harriet Tubman to modern-day women and girls who have similarly confronted huge risks to help others.
Shuttlesworth PBS LearningMedia Collection – This collection contains a feature-length documentary about his work in Birmingham, Shuttlesworth, as well as additional interviews with community members that lived through segregation and the fight to end it. Archival photos provide further context.
Making Black America PBS LearningMedia Collection – Throughout the series, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. inverts the standard narrative of history as a battleground over the repressive, violent forces of white supremacy and of African Americans making “progress” by crossing the color line, and instead center the arc on the private and communal lives of those who, trapped by Jim Crow rule, nevertheless created a diverse, and vibrant, world of their own.
Career & Technical Education Month - Starts February 1
The Career Center
All episodes Available on Demand.
The Career Center is a show where real teens explore the opportunities in their future and the paths available to find their dream career.
The program is hosted by a career counselor and walks teens through the process of exploring careers and career pathways. Segments include:
– Career Exploration: Meet professionals who represent different facets of the career track or cluster and learn about the diversity of jobs available and skills needed.
– 21st Century Skills: Communication, critical thinking, digital skills…. they’re needed in every job! Short segments help job seekers build skills and build their resume.
– Career Pathways: From apprenticeship programs and bootcamps to university and community college programs, find multiple paths to pursuing your dreams.
National Engineers Week - February 18-24
Extend the Learning
Engineering Is… PBS LearningMedia Collection – Explore Engineering Is… , a collection of media resources that focuses on the intersection of engineering and science. The new national science education standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, emphasize engineering design as an essential part of science education. With the Engineering Is… collection, middle- and high-school students can learn about scientists and engineers working together across disciplines to investigate issues, make discoveries and develop solutions.