A collection of episodes from Black Journal, the first nationally televised public affairs program produced for, about, and by Black Americans has been released by The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress. Largely unseen since they aired between 1968 and 1977, the 59 episodes have been digitized from archival tape in the Library’s collection and are now available to stream for free online.
Topics addressed by the series include the Black Power Movement, Black nationalism, the “Black is beautiful” movement, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, the African diaspora, the Black student movement, Pan-Africanism, the media’s representation of Black people and more. Black Journal was produced first by National Educational Television (NET), the precursor to PBS, and later by WNET in New York.
Accompanying the Black Journal episodes is a collection of essays that explore the public television programs that put Black issues and Black perspectives at the forefront in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement. Written by Christine Acham, Ph.D, Chair and Professor at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Academy for Creative Media, and Ashley Young, Ph.D candidate in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, the exhibit, “Televising Black Politics in the Black Power Era: Black Journal and Soul!” chronicles how television became a tool for breaking down stereotypes and for fostering dialogue within Black communities. In addition to delving into the history of Black Journal, the exhibit discusses Soul!, a variety talk show created for and by African Americans that aired between 1968 and 1973 on public television. Soul! featured the era’s most prominent Black political and cultural figures, musicians, writers and poets, including activist Stokely Carmichael, playwright and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, musician Curtis Mayfield, poet Nikki Giovanni and actor/director Sidney Poitier.
Direct to Black Journal Collection Info/Links