(San Francisco, CA) — The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights, a new documentary about one of the most celebrated — and controversial — leaders of the civil right era, premieres on Independent Lens hosted by Stanley Tucci on Monday, February 18 at 10 PM ET on PBS (check local listings). Narrated by Alfre Woodard, The Powerbroker follows Young’s journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. The Powerbroker is part of the special lineup of Independent Lens programs celebrating Black History Month. Additional films available for streaming on PBS.org include More Than a Month, Daisy Bates, Adjust Your Color, and When I Rise. You can see a complete schedule below. During the 1960s, as the executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney Young was one of the few African Americans who had the ears of those who controlled the levers of power: Fortune 500 CEOs, governors, senators, and presidents. He used these relationships to gain better access to employment, education, housing, and healthcare for African Americans, other minorities, and those in need. His unique position and approach earned him praise, but also scorn from the Black Power movement for being too close to the white establishment. While he is less known today than other leaders of the era because of the behind-the-scenes nature of his work, Young’s legacy and influence are still felt profoundly. The Powerbroker is a production of Bluegate, with executive producer Bonnie Boswell. Boswell also produced the film, along with Christine Khalafian, Taylor Hamilton, and co-producer Jordan Melograna. In addition to The Powerbroker, the following Independent Lens films are available for streaming on PBS.org during the month of February: February 4-10 When I Rise is the inspiring story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted black mezzo-soprano who, as a music student at the University of Texas, found herself in a civil rights storm that changed her life forever. February 11-17 Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greenechronicles the life and times of America’s first shock jock, a man who spoke the truth to people in power and influenced a new generation of broadcast personalities. February 18-24 Daisy Batesprofiles a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. February 19-March 4 The Powerbrokeris a portrait of civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr. February 25-March 3 More Than a Monthfollows filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman’s provocative cross-country campaign to end Black History Month, as he questions whether relegating African American history to the shortest month of the year — and separating it from the rest of American history — denigrates the role of black people and black culture. About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. You can find more information at www.pbs.org/independentlensIndependent Lens on Facebook at www.facebook.com/independentlens.
Posted on February 7, 2013