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Jazz 91.9 WCLK | Membership Matters

WCLK partners with PBS on Making Black America

Atlanta, GA (August 10, 2022) – Jazz 91.9 WCLK joins PBS and WETA in a new collaboration to chronicle the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people. The collaboration is a coordinated schedule of listener and community engagement activities directing attention to a new documentary series from McGee Media and Inkwell Media, Making Black America:  Through the Grapevine. Making Black America: Through the Grapevine is a four-part series from executive producer, host and writer, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., that will premiere in Fall 2022 on PBS stations nationwide.

In this latest series from the acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentarian, Gates and director Stacey L. Holman recounts the establishment of the Prince Hall Masons in 1775 through the formation of all-Black towns and business districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, destinations for leisure, and the social media phenomenon of Black Twitter. Gates sits with noted scholars, politicians, cultural leaders, and old friends to discuss this world behind the color line and what it looks like today. Making Black America takes viewers into an extraordinary world that showcased Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself.

In Making Black America, Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, joins in intimate conversation with Black thought leaders and community members, as well as interviews with leading historians and other experts, to examine many themes within the Black American experience. The documentary surveys slavery, freedom, and the contours of the bind between North and South; continues with Reconstruction and life under Jim Crow rule; and demonstrates–through personal and historical stories–the status of the ongoing effort to organize and achieve goals first set during slavery.

Throughout the documentary, Gates explores how Black Americans under segregation launched a renaissance that revolutionized American culture and opened up spaces where Black citizens could rise as leaders within their communities. While blocked by the walls of exclusion, Black people nevertheless fought for social justice and social health in vigorous ways, accomplishing a stunning set of achievements that impact American culture through today. The film concludes with an accounting of what the dismantling of legal segregation created in America meant for the world’s Black people and what remains for the present generation to draw upon today.

Making Black America:  Through the Grapevine will premiere on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CDT (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app.

Over the course of four weekly episodes, MAKING BLACK AMERICA takes viewers into an extraordinary world that showcases Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy, and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself.

Episode One – October 4, 2022 at 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CDT As early as 1775, free Black people in the North and South built towns, established schools, and held conventions ─ creating robust networks to address the political, economic, and social needs of the entire Black community.

Episode Two – October 11, 2022 at 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CDT With the hopes of a multi-racial community dashed, African Americans turn within, creating a community that not only sustains but empowers. From HBCUs to Black businesses to the Harlem Renaissance to political organizations, Black life flourished.

Episode Three – October 18, 2022 at 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CDT To survive a period of economic cataclysm and global war, African Americans relied on informal economies, grassroots organizations and cultural innovations behind the color line to sustain themselves and dismantle the oppressive realities of Jim Crow.

Episode Four – October 25, 2022 at 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CDT Despite the gains of legal desegregation, all Black political and cultural movements - from Black Power to Black Twitter - continued to provide a safe space for a community riven by class, sexuality and generational divisions to debate, organize and celebrate.

Making Black America:  Through the Grapevine will be accompanied by an outreach and public engagement program. With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, local PBS member stations and public radio stations will provide opportunities for communities to participate in a national conversation about the impact of Black organizing and community-building and the ongoing implications for American society today. In addition, there will be a website and educational resources designed to engage teachers and students through multiple platforms, including PBS LearningMedia.

Making Black America:  Through the Grapevine is a production of McGee Media, Inkwell Media and WETA Washington, D.C. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the writer, host, and executive producer. Dyllan McGee is executive producer. John F. Wilson is executive producer in charge for WETA. Bill Gardner is the executive in charge for PBS. Stacey L. Holman is series producer and director. Shayla Harris is producer/director. Deborah C. Porfido is supervising producer. Robert L. Yacyshyn is line producer. Kevin Burke is producer. Mattie Akers is archival producer.

Major corporate support for Making Black America: Through the Grapevineis provided by Bank of America. Corporate support is also provided by Johnson & Johnson. Major support is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Ford Foundation; Open Society Foundations; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Gilder Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Additional funding by The Inkwell Society and its members Howard and Abby Milstein; Jim and Susan Swartz; Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky; Joanne L. Cassullo; Deval Patrick; Roger and Jurate Altman;

David M. Cote; Betsy and Jesse Fink; John H. N. Fisher and Jennifer Caldwell; Nancy A. Garvey; Peter Schwabach and Misan Sagay Schwabach; Josh Steiner; Richard and Kathy Taylor; Charlotte Wagner; Richard Cohen; David and Nina Fialkow; Steven L. Rattner; Robert F. Smith; Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein; Connie Lurie; Nicole Commissiong and Darnell Armstrong; Demond and Kia Martin; Gwen and Peter Norton; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; Fletcher and Benaree Wiley; Beth Rudin DeWoody; Grant S. Johnson; and Vincent and Elaine Luke. Funding also provided by public television viewers.


About Jazz 91.9 WCLK

Jazz 91.9 WCLK, a 501(c)3 nonprofit radio station licensed to Clark Atlanta University, is committed to preserving the legacy of Jazz through dynamic Jazz musical selections, cultural programming and community-focused initiatives. Founded in 1974, Jazz 91.9 WCLK broadcasts a mix of Classic and Contemporary Jazz and Gospel music. WCLK is a nonprofit, member supported, National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate station that serves the interest of the citizens in Greater Atlanta. For more station information, programming details, and to listen on the Web, please visit: WCLK.com.

About WETA

WETA is the leading public broadcaster in the nation's capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio and digital. WETA Washington, D.C., is the second-largest producer for the PBS system. In addition to producing documentaries and series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., WETA produces news and public affairs programs, including PBS NEWSHOUR and WASHINGTON WEEK; films by Ken Burns and Florentine Films, including BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, MUHAMMAD ALI and the forthcoming THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST; performance specials including IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT and A CAPITOL FOURTH; and health content from Well Beings, a multiplatform campaign that includes original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events, and the documentary KEN BURNS PRESENTS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS A FILM BY ERIK EWERS AND CHRISTOPHER LOREN EWERS. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.Visit www.facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.

About McGee Media

McGee Media was founded by award-winning filmmaker Dyllan McGee to produce documentary content that is innovative, compelling, and immersive. Every story is born from a vision of a fairer and more equitable world. Whether it is the sweeping history of the African-American experience, or the intimate personal stories of the hundreds of women who made up the feminist movement, McGee Media uses television, film, and digital media in radical new ways to inform and inspire. Recent projects include Emmy-nominated FREDERICK DOUGLASS: IN FIVE SPEECHES (HBO), NOT DONE: WOMEN REMAKING AMERICA (PBS), THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG (PBS), RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR (PBS), AFRICA'S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS (PBS), BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE (PBS), MAKERS (PBS), FINDING YOUR ROOTS (PBS), ONCE & FOR ALL (AOL), FIRST IN HUMAN (Discovery), and RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN (Discovery).

About Inkwell Media

Inkwell Media was founded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to produce sophisticated documentary films about the African and African-American experience for a broad audience. The six-part PBS documentary series THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013) earned the 2013 Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award. Inkwell has co-produced FREDERICK DOUGLASS: IN FIVE SPEECHES (2022), FINDING YOUR ROOTS Seasons 1-9 (2012-2022); THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG (2021); RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR (2019); AFRICA'S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS (2017); BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE (2016); BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA (2011); FACES OF AMERICA (2010); LOOKING FOR LINCOLN (2009); AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 (2008); OPRAH'S ROOTS (2007) and AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (2006).

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