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Programs Witness: Black History Month

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A special hour-long edition of Witness History from the BBC World Service, bringing together some incredible interviews looking at the African-American experience. Told by people who were there, we hear stories that are inspiring, harrowing, and rich.

Civil rights – The Murder of Emmett Till
In August 1955 two white men kidnapped and lynched a 14 year African-American boy, Emmett Till.  The teenager was visiting relatives in the state of Mississippi when he was killed. His murder galvanised the civil rights movement in the US. Farhana Haider reports.

The Black Power Salute
In October 1968, two American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, staged one of the most iconic protests in sport at the Mexico City Olympics. The two athletes raised their gloved fists in the air at the medal ceremony for the 200 metres as a way of protesting against racism. Simon Watts reports.

Nina Simone in Africa
In 1974 African-American singer Nina Simone decided to make her home in Liberia in West Africa. Lucy Burns spoke to James C Dennis Sr, a friend of Nina Simone's in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

Today we are going back to the 1960s when newly independent Algeria gave sanctuary to a number of radical groups from across the globe, among them, America's Black Panthers party.  One of its leaders, Eldridge Cleaver, spent almost four years in exile in the north African nation. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from someone who worked with him there.

Photos of the King Family
In 1969 photo journalist Moneta Sleet became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He won for the black and white image of Coretta Scott King the widow of Martin Luther King taken at the funeral of the murdered civil rights leader. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Moneta Sleet's son Gregory Sleet about his father's remarkable career capturing many of the images that defined the struggle for racial equality in America.

About Witness

Go back in time to key events in history and hear the story of our times told by the people who were there.

Witness features first-hand accounts, archive material and insight from historians. Hosted by various BBC World Service presenters.


One hour

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ContentDepot File Transfer

Preview audio available: January 19, 2020
Promo spot available: January 24, 2020
Program and rundown available: January 31, 2020


Broadcast Window

February 1-29, 2020, with multiple airings permitted.

Broadcast Rights

Available to all APM affiliates; subscription to the APM Celebrates package is not required for carriage. Affiliate stations may carry this program multiple times before March 1, 2020. The program must be carried in its entirety. No excerpting is permitted. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this program. Prior to carrying this program, stations must contact their American Public Media Station Relations Representative.

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