Black History Month

WQED broadcasts programming created by and about African-Americans year-round, engaging viewers in an exploration of Black History. In addition to documentaries airing in February commemorating the contributions of African-Americans, throughout 2019 WQED will also feature local and national programs about moments in history that helped shape race relations today.

Watch on WQED TV

Feb 7

8:00pm | Torchbearers

Feb 11

7:30pm | Return to the Roots of Civil Rights
10:00pm | Independent Lens: Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Feb 14

8:00pm | Come By Here: A History of Five Churches

Feb 16

10:00pm | Jim Crow Pennsylvania

Feb 18

7:30pm | Civil Rights: Witness to History

Feb 19

9:00pm | American Masters: Sammy Davis Jr.

Feb 21

8:30pm | WQED Mini Docs: Musical Mentors

Feb 22

9:00pm | American Masters: Charley Pride

Feb 26

9:00pm | American Experience: Roads to Memphis

Feb 28

8:00pm | We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Ever Told

Watch Online

Come By Here: A History of Five Churches

Western Pennsylvania is blessed with hundreds of places of worship. These are the histories of five of them: a church with ties to the Underground Railroad; a church built by the hands of factory workers; a church that joined the fight for civil rights; a small congregation refusing to give up; and a church known for its' glorious music.

Return to the Roots of Civil Rights

For eights days in June 2006, a group of Western Pennsylvanians journeyed to the sites of America’s Civil Rights struggle. OnQ’s producers documented the group as they made their way from one Civil Rights milestone to another.

Portrayal & Perception: African-American Men and Boys

Already Doing It: The tenth documentary in the "Portrayal & Perception" series focuses on teenagers excelling in school, volunteering as mentors, and working hard to make a difference among their peers.

Civil Rights: Witnesses To History

They are senior citizens now, but during the early 1960s, their youthful actions reshaped America. WQED shares the unforgettable memories and rare photographs of Civil Rights era activists including the Reverend C.T. Vivian, Sister Patricia McCann, and freedom singer Rutha Harris, who all fought against segregation and for African-Americans and right to vote.

Nazi Olympics

Most know the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, for the amazing feats of African American athlete Jessie Owens, who smashed theories of "Aryan" superiority. But these Olympics held many more surprises. Two local organizations bring this traveling exhibit to Pittsburgh to explore these very controversial games.

Duke Spaulding

George H. Spaulding is a world class musician and a legend in Pittsburgh's music scene. As a piano tuner, he's helped perfect the local performances of Liberace, Andre Watt and Andre Previn, just to name a few. but he is first and foremost a musician, known simply as The Duke.

Slave To Soldier

This exhibit at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland chronicles the epic struggle of enslaved Africans who fought for their freedom in the Civil War. OnQ's Chris Moore reports.

Shona Sharif African Drum

African dance is an art form with a vast history. At the University of Pittsburgh, the Shona Sharif African Dance Ensemble educates students, as well as the entire Pittsburgh community, in this centuries old culture. See how this art is still practiced as the next group of students jump, sing, stomp and dance to the rhythm of the drum.

American Legion Post 450

Like many other American Legion posts, Walter Robinson Post 450 in Sewickley is suffering from declining membership and difficulty maintaining its financial footing. Post 450 has a special meaning to the black residents of Sewickley who proudly celebrate that small borough’s tradition of military service. That is why they are working hard on saving Post 450.

A Beautiful Life

102 year old Mrs. Lillian Allen talks to Chris Moore about a life well lived. Through old photos and film Horizons chronicles Mrs. Allen's entrepreneurship during the heyday of the Hill District when she was a fashion trend-setter and a business go-getter as the proprietor of one of the largest beauty salons in Pittsburgh.

New Hope for the Hill District

For many years Pittsburgh's Hill District has struggled to regain its former glory. Through good times and bad, residents have kept hoping and fighting for true renewal. Chris Moore reports on a positive, new surge in housing and economic development.

Lavelle Retrospective

Chris Moore takes a look at the life and work of Robert Lavelle Sr., founder of Dwelling House Savings and Loan, one of the few black-owned banks in Pennsylvania. He was also a pioneer in the local civil rights movement, changing real estate laws for black homeowners and realtors across the country.

Haiti Baptist Ministries

Contributor Harold Hayes looks at a local connection to the concern about Haiti not only since the earthquake, but long before then. He shows us some home movies taken by his father, a Baptist minister in McKeesport, as Baptist churches rallied to support Haiti when Harold was just a toddler.

Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art

Queloides or Keloids are wound-induced pathological scars. This art exhibit directly from Cuba examines the scars of the seldom discussed issue of racism in Cuba. It evokes how in the past Cubans have failed to deal with the traumatic issues of racism but are struggling to come to grips with it today. The exhibit will be open at the Mattress Factory through February of 2011.

The Pittsburgh Courier

To celebrate the newspaper's 100th anniversary, the Heinz History Center presents a new exhibition- America's Best Weekly: A Century of the Pittsburgh Courier. The exhibit profiles the newspaper from a start up publication in the early 20th century eventually evolving into the nation's most influential African American newspaper. At one time, the Pittsburgh Courier was read by more than one million people.

All That Jazz

Charles Cottrell was a pianist in the heyday of jazz in Pittsburgh. He remembers those days when he and all the Pittsburgh greats he played with like Stanley Turrentine made Pittsburgh a mecca for "All That Jazz." Join Chris Moore when he visits Cottrell and looks back at the greatest jazz musicians in Pittsburgh.

The Teenie Harris Archive Project

His images captured the spirit of a people during the mid-20th century. Charles "Teenie" Harris died in the late 1990s leaving behind thousands of negatives and photographs of Pittsburgh's black community. In October 2011, the collection will be the focus of a new exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.

Roger Humphries

Roger Humphries is a legendary jazz drummer who learned to play from people like Art Blakey. Blakey urged Humphries to pass on his jazz knowledge to the younger set and that is just what he did. It is why he is the subject of a new documentary titled "Pass It On."

Wes Lyons and Shaun Robinson

Michael Bartley is joined by Shawn Robinson and Wes Lyons to talk about what they are doing to try and make a difference in the lives of at risk youth.

Patricia Prattis Jennings

She was the principal keyboardist for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for four decades before retiring in 2006. Chris Moore talks to Patricia Prattis Jennings about her successful career as a musician and about the launch of her new book, "In One Era and Out the Other: Essays on Contemporary Life."

Thelma Lovette's YMCA

Thelma Lovett has been a tireless advocate for her community. WQED's Minette Seate visits the Hill District's Thelma Lovett YMCA, named in her honor, to get a personal tour of the state-of-the art facility named after the beloved civil rights activist.

Memories of the March: Pittsburgh Stories

Fifty years ago, a quarter of a million people gathered in our nation's capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Pittsburgh area men and women share their thoughts of that day.

Portrayal & Perception: African-American Men & Boys

Media Men: This episode continues a series that reports on African American men and boys in positive and mentoring roles. "Media Men" focuses on communications careers.

National Negro Opera Company

Preservationists are working to save the grand old Victorian home on Apple Street in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood - and for good reason. It was the birthplace of Mary Cardwell Dawson's National Negro Opera Company which launched careers and opened doors. Nicknamed "Mystery Manor," the house also hosted famous African-American entertainers, athletes and business people who were denied hotel rooms when visiting Pittsburgh.

Gwen Elliott Remembered

Gwen Elliott, the first black woman to become a commander in the Pittsburgh Police department, has died after her battle with brain cancer. The former Pittsburgh Police commander will be remembered for her dedication to the community which included starting "Gwen's Girls" a group home that aims to give at-risk girls the education, training and services to support themselves and their children.


Revisit Pittsburgh's struggles during the so-called golden era of civil rights, and meet many of the men and women who lit the way for the generations that followed. Hosted by Chris Moore and produced by Minette Seate, Torchbearers is a celebration of lives driven by a greater purpose.