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“Independent Lens” will celebrate Black History Month, February 2012, on public television with premieres of three new documentaries.

“Independent Lens’s” Black History Month program kicks off on February 2, 2012 with the premiere of “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock,” the story of a seven-year journey by filmmaker Sharon La Cruise to get to know the mostly-forgotten civil rights activist Daisy Bates. Beautiful, glamorous, and articulate, Bates was fearless in her quest for justice, stepping into the spotlight to bring national attention to issues — and some say to herself. Unconventional and egotistical, she became a household name in 1957 when she fought for the right of nine black students to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her public campaign culminated in a constitutional crisis — pitting a president against a governor and a community against itself.


Fresh from a successful theatrical run, on February 9, 2012 “Independent Lens” presents Goeran Hugo Olsson’s “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.” In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Swedish television journalists came to America to document the burgeoning black power movement. This fascinating film weaves this long-lost trove of film into an irresistible mosaic chronicling the movement’s evolution: footage shot on the streets of Harlem, Brooklyn, and Oakland; interviews with Black Power leaders including Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Eldridge Cleaver; and contemporary audio interviews with leading African American artists, activists, musicians, and scholars. The film provides a fascinating look at the people, society, culture, and style that fuelled an era of convulsive change.

Finally, on February 16, 2012, “More Than a Month” follows African American filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. Humorous and thought provoking, “More Than a Month” combines cinema verite, man-on-the-street interviews, and inspired dramatizations to explore what the treatment of history tells us about race and power in “post-racial” America. What does it mean that we have a Black History Month? What would it mean if we didn’t?

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