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PBS content to address racism in US

Protestors in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd
(Photo: Fibonacci Blue via CC)

US pubcaster PBS is launching a series of films and specials focused on racism in the country after the death of George Floyd last week.

Starting tonight, PBS will rebroadcast documentary The Talk: Race in America, which first aired in 2017 and tells six stories of struggle between people of colour and law enforcement in the US.

On Friday, the pubcaster and member stations will air a new special called Race Matters: America in Crisis – A PBS Newshour Special, which will focus on the frustration pouring out on to US streets, police brutality and racial disparities in the economy, education, criminal justice system and healthcare.

Also on Friday, PBS will rebroadcast Frontline: Policing the Police, in which writer and historian Jelani Cobb examines allegations of abuse within the Newark Police Department.

Next Monday, Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman theatre piece about the violent aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King verdict, Twilight: Los Angeles, will air alongside news footage and interviews of the event.

The following Monday, June 15, PBS will report from across the country in America in Black & Blue 2020, featuring interviews with key leaders and participants in the struggle for racial justice, as well as voices from law enforcement. It will update reporting from the original America in Black & Blue in 2016.

In addition, PBS and member stations will this week begin rebroadcasting and streaming a slate of films about the history of injustice within the African American community. These include Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr’s African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and four-part series Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.

Films from Gates and Nelson will also be included as part of a special curated collection in association with Black Public Media for streaming on PBS.org.

In addition, PBS American Portrait, the network’s initiative to mark its 50th anniversary, is inviting people to upload personal stories relating to racism and its impact. PBS American Portrait will air two new specials this fall and a four-part docuseries in January 2021 that spotlight American stories.

Meanwhile, PBS Kids is offering families resources to discuss race, racism, civil rights and current events with children, while PBS LearningMedia is offering materials to help educators talk with students on the same topics.

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