Independent Lens Leads PBS's Black History Month Slate With Three New Documentaries in February 2012

Lineup Includes the Critically Acclaimed The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, and More Than a Month

Legendary Activist and Scholar Dr. Angela Davis Steps up to Support Black History Month on Public Television

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(San Francisco, CA) - In February 2012, Independent Lens will lead the celebration of Black History Month on public television with premieres of three new documentaries that shine a unique light on the history of African American activism, with one provocatively re-examining of the whole idea of Black History Month. 

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 Göran 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 verité, 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? 

When the Independent Lens Black History Month slate is presented at the Television Critics Association meetings in Los Angeles in early January, filmmakers Sharon La Cruise and Shukree Hassan Tilghman will be joined by legendary activist, scholar, and icon of the Black Power Movement, Dr. Angela Davis. “It is beyond exciting that Dr. Davis has agreed to join us for this presentation, and to support Black History Month on public broadcasting,” said Lois Vossen, series producer for Independent Lens. “This important programming will reach more African American families — and more Americans overall — because of her participation.” 

Two of the three films — Daisy Bates and More than a Month — will also be featured in ITVS’s acclaimed Community Cinema program, where local public television stations team up with community-based organizations and NGOs to present special live preview screenings. With expert speakers and panel discussions to help contextualize the programs, these screenings give audiences the opportunity to get involved. More than 100 screenings of each film will take place in cities and towns across the country during the months of January and February. To find a screening near you, visit 

In addition, Daisy Bates is also part of the ITVS-led Women and Girls Lead campaign, a three-year pubic media initiative to focus, educate, and connect citizens worldwide in support of the issues facing women and girls. By building a pipeline of some 50 public television documentaries and integrating content from partners across radio, commercial television, and beyond, Women and Girls Lead offers another model for public media to serve its mission in the 21st century. 

To learn more about the films, and the issues involved, visit the companion websites at Get detailed information on each film, watch preview clips, read interviews with the filmmakers, and explore the subjects in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions. 

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award–winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities and moments in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen. 



Krissy Bailey, ITVS, 415-356-8383 x 254,

Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190,

Cara White, 843-881-1480, 

For downloadable images, visit

Posted on January 4, 2012