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Black History Month

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The Harlem Cultural Festival: Soul Time
The 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, also known as Black Woodstock, was a watershed moment for Black culture in America - that history almost forgot.
What is the Significance of 1619?
The year 2026 marks the bicentennial of a landmark year in US history – when the first European women and enslaved people arrived on North American soil, and US democracy was born.
Black Soldiers and the Fight for Citizenship
For those enslaved, it was the perpetrator of countless horrors. So why did almost 200,000 African-Americans put their lives on the line to preserve the United States?
Black Cowboys of the West
The stereotypical image of a White cowboy dominates popular culture – but in the 19th century, a quarter of ranch hands were Black!
Ethel Payne: First Lady of the Black Press
As the First Lady of the Black Press, Ethel Payne wielded her first amendment right to ask the tough questions and hold those in power to account.
Barbara Jordan: The Black Texan Politician who Broke the Glass Ceiling
At a time when women and people of colour were all but excluded from the US government, one woman stormed the corridors of power and made them her own. This is the story of Barbara Jordan, the African American from the South who defied expectations by being selected to serve in Congress and who became one of the finest legislators in US history.
When the Youth of Birmingham Changed History
In 1963, school children from Birmingham, Alabama skipped class to demonstrate for racial equality. Met with police violence, they helped to bring about significant change. The Birmingham Children's Crusade, as it was known, has gone down in history as a turning point in the fight for Civil Rights.
The Bloodiest Race Riot in US History
It began as a protest against the Conscription Act of 1863 – but quickly descended into the bloodiest race riot in US history. So why did New York’s White working class kill at least 120 people during the New York Draft Riots?
The Enslaved Household of Thomas Jefferson
This is the story of Ursula, Edith and Frances – three teenagers who Thomas Jefferson brought to the White House to train as his enslaved personal chefs.
The Raised Fist Afro Comb: Defining a Statement
Designed in 1972, the raised fist Afro Comb combines function with meaning to create a grooming tool that symbolises African-American history, culture and pride.
Elizabeth Keckly: From Slavery to the White House
She was enslaved at birth – but became the first lady’s favorite dressmaker and the author of a sensational memoir that shocked the nation. So who was Elizabeth Keckly?
Harriet Tubman: Civil War Spy
She’s known as a savior of the enslaved – but few know that during the American Civil War, Harriet Tubman was an exceptionally capable Union Army spy.
Joseph Henry Douglass: Changing America With Music
Classical violinist Joseph Henry Douglass helped empower the Black community through music and education at a time when Southern lawmakers were pushing back against the progress of Reconstruction.
The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of African American culture and creativity that began in 1920s New York.
Lunch Counter Stools
In 1960, four Black students staged a sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest against racial segregation in the United States. The stools they sat on are the most visited artifacts at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
Pauli Murray: Breaking Barriers of Race and Gender
As a queer Black lawyer, poet and civil rights activist, Pauli Murray understood how our different identities can overlap to create multiple levels of discrimination. Her groundbreaking work in championing equality for all helped change America for the better.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's Pursuit of Absolute Equality
This film is about the most important events of Watkins Harper’s early life, highlighting her early achievements as a writer.
Bluegrass Music
Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains was the birthplace of Bluegrass Music and Bill Monroe who became the Godfather of the Bluegrass
The Negro League Baseball: Shattering Segregation
Like much of American in the early 19th century, sports were segregated. But with the newly established Negro Baseball League, African American baseball players overcame racial segregation to claim the national pastime as their own.
Claudette Colvin: The Original Rosa Parks
You know the story of David and Goliath, right? Well, America has its own version. Only our hero is 15-year-old African-American, school girl Claudette Colvin and in 1955, she took on the State of Alabama for real. The original Rosa Parks!
The Enslaved Chef Who Revolutionized American Cuisine
James Hemings was an enslaved man and the first American to learn classic French cuisine. He helped popularise many of the dishes you know and love today.
Marie van Brittan Brown: Creating CCTV in Queens
How did a hardworking nurse from New York City invent the world's first home security system? When a burglar tried to break into her apartment in the 1960s, this kickass crimefighter went where no-one had gone before.
The Largest Slave Uprising in Colonial America
The Stono Rebellion of 1739 saw enslaved people rise up using coded sounds that sowed the seeds of jazz, blues and hip hop.
Lives of the Enslaved During the Civil War
How did life change for enslaved people as the American Civil War raged around them?
1619: The Legacy of Slavery in America
1619 was a significant year in the history of America for better and for worse. In Jamestown, Virginia the first slaves were imported and sold. Meet Nikole Hannah-Jones; author of New York Times' "1619 Project" who will examine the impact of that year on American History, culture and development.
Sally Hemings: Surviving Slavery and Sexual Exploitation
Sally Hemings was an enslaved woman who had several children with Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. Her story of agency and eventual emancipation remains an inspiration.
Bayard Rustin: Martin Luther King Jr's 'Out and Proud' Advisor
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the biggest protest America had ever seen. It culminated in Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. But the man who made it all possible, chief organiser Bayard Rustin, was almost written out of history not because he was black, but because he was gay.
Teaching Ruby Bridges
In the 1960s, Black schoolgirl Ruby Bridges and White teacher Barbara Henry showed America the true power of racial integration in the classroom.
Thurgood Marshall: From School Suspension to Supreme Court
Thurgood Marshall, the most successful civil rights lawyer of all time and America’s first Supreme court Justice, was instrumental in the fight for equality in the United States.
Marian Anderson: The Opera Singer Who Challenged Segregation
When Black singer Marian Anderson was barred from performing in Washington by the Daughters of the Revolution – her Lincoln Memorial performance made her an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.
Marsha P. Johnson: Transgender Activist
The story of transgender activist, Marsha P. Johnson, who dedicated her life to LGBTQ+ rights.
Harriet Robinson Scott: A Personal Fight for Emancipation with National Ramifications
The story of the enslaved woman who challenged slavery in the highest court in the United States.
Oprah Winfrey: Effective Communication
A captivating storyteller - how did this girl from Mississippi become the most powerful woman that America has known?
Linda Brown: The Schoolgirl who Changed America
Linda Brown was just 9-years-old when she was thrust into the national spotlight, as she fought - and won - against racial segregation in the American school system.
Shirley Chisholm: Equal Rights for Women
In 1969 Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Woman elected to Congress spoke to the US House of Representatives to argue in support of a controversial women’s rights bill; the Equal Rights Amendment.
Garrett Morgan
Kentucky-born Garrett Morgan invented life saving gadgets, but despite facing racial prejudice all his life, Morgan was recognised as one of America’s most prolific and socially conscious inventors
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