Detroit Public Television Celebrates Black History Month | Programs | DPTV

Detroit Public Television Celebrates Black History Month

Last Updated by Angela Brown on
A Ballerina's Tale airs Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 11:00 p.m.

Detroit Public Television is proud to celebrate the rich heritage and cultural contributions of African-Americans. From rock ‘n’ roll legend Fats Domino to contemporary ballerina Misty Copeland, DPTV's February programming highlights the history, achievements, and unique perspectives of African-Americans.


February 1 – 7

Rise of the Black Pharoahs

Explore the history of the little-known African civilization that overthrew the Ancient Egyptians. In the heart of Sudan, archeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually-driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians.

Wednesday, February 3rd at 10:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb 4 at 3:30 a.m.

Watch the preview



Friday Night Film Festival: Glory

Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

Friday, February 5th at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 6th at 2:00 a.m.


Austin City Limits: Leon Bridges/Nathaniel Ratcliff

Savor the old-fashioned soul of Leon Bridges, who channels an earlier era with songs from his debut LP, “Coming Home.”

Sunday, February 7th at 12:00 a.m.

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February 8 – 14

A Ballerina’s Tale

An intimate look at Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater’s first African-American female principal dancer. The documentary examines her emergence as a  pop culture star despite the absence of women of color at major ballet companies, while simultaneously dealing with an injury that almost ruined her career.

Tuesday, February 9th at 11:00 p.m.

Watch the preview


Eddie Murphy: The Mark Twain Prize

The biggest names in entertainment - including Dave Chapelle, Arsenio Hall, Chris Rock, and Trevor Noah - salute Eddie Murphy, the 2015 Mark Twain Prize recipient.

Wednesday, February 10th at 10:00 p.m, Thursday, February 11th at 4:00 a.m.


Richard Pryor ICON

Richard Pryor is one of the greatest American comedians of all time, often credited as a major inspiration for the most successful comics of today. This episode of ICON takes a closer look at the life and legacy of Richard Pryor, often using his own words, to show his lasting effect on American comedy and culture.

Wednesday, February 10th at 11:30 p.m.

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B.B. King: The Life of Riley

Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman narrates the life of B.B. King, one of the most influential blues musicians of all time. Made with full cooperation of The B.B. King Museum, the film explores King’s challenging life and career through interviews with “the King” himself, his family, and fellow music contemporaries such as George Benson, Aaron Neville, Carlos Santana, and Bono.

Friday, February 12th at 10:00 p.m., Saturday, February 13th at 3:30 a.m.

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A Tribute to Toussaint

This film weaves together footage from prolific musician Allen Toussaint’s 75th birthday concert, interviews with musicians Cyndi Lauper, Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffett, and segments that profile Toussaint’s many accomplishments – both in the studio and in the community.

Saturday, February 13th at 10:30 p.m.


February 15 – 21

PBSBlackPanthers_27x40.jpgBlack Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, this documentary explores the history of the Black Panthers, a revolutionary political partry originally created in 1966 to combat policy brutality towards blacks in Oakland, CA. The group expanded nationwide throughout the late 60s and 70s, paving the way for many radical social movements of the time.

Tuesday, February 16, at 9:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 17th at 2:30 a.m., and Sunday, February 21st at 3:00 pm

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Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race

Before Barack Obama, there was Tom Bradley – the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city with an overwhelmingly white majority. Learn how Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, the first black mayor elected in a major U.S. city with a white majority, united a divided city through a unique multi-racial coalition, ushered in police reform and transformed American politics.

Tuesday, February 16th at 11:00 pm, Sunday, Feb 21st at 2:00pm


In Their Own Words: Muhammad Ali

Follow Muhammad Ali’s path from a gym in Louisville to boxing successes, conversion to Islam, opposition to the draft, exile from the ring, comeback fights, Parkinson’s disease and his inspirational re-emergence at the Atlanta Olympics.

Sunday, February 21st at 5:00 p.m.

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February 22 - 29

Sphinx Finals Concert 2016

The Sphinx Competition offers young Black and Latino classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in a competitive setting.

Monday, February 22nd at 9:00 p.m., Tuesday Feb 23rd at 2:30 a.m.



The gripping story of a 62-year-old Black Panther turned counterterrorism informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The unprecedented documentary goes deep inside the world of an active terror sting, without FBI consent, pursuing twists and turns fit for an espionage thriller.

Tuesday, February 23rd at 11:00 p.m.

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Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House

Hear interpretations of the music of Ray Charles, using his own big-band musical arrangements, by renowned and up-and-coming artists.

Friday, February 26th at 11:00 p.m.


Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll:  American Masters

Actor Clarke Peters narrates the story of legendary rocker Antoine “Fats” Domino. The documentary traces how Fats Domino’s brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues morphed into and greatly influenced a revolutionary genre of music – rock ‘n’ roll.

Saturday, February 27th at 12:00 a.m.

Watch the preview

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African American: Many Rivers to Cross

Survey the full sweep of African-American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable historic events up to the present. Presented and written by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m.

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Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever

A 1983 salute to the most successful Black-owned and operated record company, “Motown 25” reunites the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the Temptations. Also appearing: Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Martha Reeves, Mary Wells, Richard Pryor, Dick Clark, Howard Hesseman and Tim Reid.

Saturday, February 27th at 9:00 p.m., Sunday February 28th at 12:00 a.m.

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Recurring Programming

American Black Journal

For more than 40 years, American Black Journal has been a vibrant and provocative forum for newsmakers, celebrities, and everyday people. Currently hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, the show delves into pressing community issues such as politics, race, and religion.

Sundays at 9:30 a.m., re-airs Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Watch the preview


Mercy Street

Follow a colorful cast of characters — doctors, nurses, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists — who intersect in the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia, and the Mansion House Hospital in the early years of the Civil War. The scripted drama explores, among other topics, the role that African Americans —including slaves, free blacks and contraband (African Americans who fled slavery in the hope of securing their freedom behind Union lines) — played in the hospital and the city.

Sundays at 10:00 pm.

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Finding Your Roots

Join Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he delves into the genealogy of 27 new guests. Each story illuminates the vast patchwork of ethnicity, race and experience that makes up the fabric of America.  

Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. 

Watch the preview


American Black Journal is a part of

One Detroit - Detroit Public TV


American Black Journal is Funded by

DTE Energy Foundation


Ford Motor Company Fund





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And viewers like you

Broadcast Information

56.1 DPTV-HD

Sundays 9:30 a.m. ET
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. ET

56.4 DPTV WORLD Channel

Saturdays 5:30 p.m. ET
Sundays 6:30 p.m. ET


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