Black History Month 2022

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Malcolm X Seen on TV for First Time



New York, New York - A series of television programs showed Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam to America. The series was produced by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax. Wallace narrated.

Lomax was a black man and worked with Wallace, a white man. They worked for News Beat, on WNTA-TV (now WNET), in New York. Lomax did the interviews while Wallace narrated.

This was the first time whites had heard of the Nation of Islam. It was the first time Malcolm X appeared on television.

The series was called 'The Hate That Hate Produced.'

Black Fists Raised at Mexico Olympics



Mexico City, Mexico - Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) each raised a fist at the award podium for the 200m race, at the 1968 Olympic Games.

Smith and Carlos were shoeless on the platform to show their black socks, which represented black poverty. Carlos wore a bead necklace to represent lynchings in the United States.

Carlos and Smith raised their gloved hand, when the Star Spangled Banner played, at the awards ceremony and bowed their heads.

WGPR Goes On-Air



Detroit, Michigan - The first wholly-owned and operated black American television (TV) station began its first broadcast. This was a first in the United States. It was founded by William V. Banks. The station had no network affiliation so the station created its own programs.

Banks was an attorney. He founded The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of Eastern Stars. The Masons sold WGPR 20 years later.

On September 20th, 1995, the deal was finalized. It left black Americans with no control of any TV station in Detroit. No black television has broadcast since, in Detroit.

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International Free and Accepted Modern Masons

Roots First Aired on Television



Burbank, California - Roots was first broadcast, on ABC (American Broadcasting Company). It was the story of a black family. It began in Africa, with the birth of a black child, in 1750.

As the child grew, he reached the age of maturity. There, he began his rites of passage. It was at this time, that he was captured, by white males. These whites made him a slave.

Roots showed his path through the Transatlantic Slave Trade and into American slavery. Slave existence was shown all the way to the American Slavery War. The final part showed life after slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and a grim future for black people. The time spanned over 100 years of black life.

There were 8 parts. Each was shown over 8 days. All times are Eastern time. Roots Parts 1 and 2 were on Sunday and Monday, 9:00-11:00 p.m.

Parts 3, 4, and 5 were on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 6 was on Saturday, from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 7 was on Sunday, from 10:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m.

Roots Part 8 was on last, on Monday, from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 8 was the highest rated of the series. It was the third (3rd) most watched show in television history.

The Cosby Show Premiered



New York, New York - The Cosby Show first aired on NBC, at 8:00 p.m. EST. It showed the middle-class aspirations of black Americans.

The format of the show was a situation comedy (or sitcom). It was an immediate hit. While NBC lagged behind ABC and NBC in viewers, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse.

Dr. William H. Cosby, who created and starred in the show, wanted to present black people in a good light. Black people were presented as well-adjusted and well-off.

Cosby's portrayal of black people was mere fantasy, or wish-fulfillment. Whites used this image to justify the end of affirmative action. A TV show gave whites the excuse to deny black people were suffering under their oppression.

The show ended the day after the Rodney King riots began.

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Cosby Filming

'The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America' First Aired on Television



New York, New York - CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) showed 'Crisis in Black America' on national television. Black people were shown as loose, broken, and hopeless. It showed black men as poor fathers.

The stories were from Newark, New Jersey. The problems of this city were used by CBS to present all black people in the same way. Bill Moyers, a white man, was the narrator.

The mothers and fathers were never shown talking to each together. Moyers only spoke to the women, or the men, but not at the same time. No black families were shown talking to one another. It implied black people were alienated from one another.

Moyers spoke to a black man, who said he gave no support to his six (6) children. This one statement sparked outrage among whites. Thus began the 'Deadbeat Dad' myth in the United States.

CBS aired this five (5) days after the first Martin Luther King Day in the United States.

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The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America

Cosby Show Ended



New York, New York - The Cosby Show ended after the 8th season. It ran from 1984-1992. The ground-breaking black cast was headed by Bill Cosby. The Cosby Show introduced affluence and middle-class aspirations to audiences across America.

In the 1970s, television (TV) showed black people with modest lives. The stories showed the daily financial struggles of black people. This was usually done in a comedic manner (Sanford and Son, Good Times, What's Happening). The Cosby Show represented a hard shift from the dynamic of economic struggles to one of economic affluence.

First, was The Jeffersons (1975-1985). It showed a solidly middle-class black family. The husband was self-made, with modest schooling. His hard work made his family upwardly mobile. He owned a retail service business. His wife stayed home. They employed a black maid.

The Cosby Show presented black people as high-earning, educated, professionals. The father, Cosby, was a doctor. The mother, Claire, was a lawyer. They owned a valuable home in a white neighborhood.

It was part of a wave of TV shows that flaunted wealth. Dallas (1978-1991), Dyansty (1981-1989), and Falcon Crest (1981-1990) were the white versions of this era.

During its time, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse. It allowed NBC to create an entire night of highly rated television (TV) shows. From Cosby, white shows such as Cheers, Family Ties, Night Court, Seinfeld, and Frasier enjoyed tremendous success.

Before The Cosby Show, NBC did not have very many successful shows on Thursday night. For this reason, many say Cosby saved NBC's prime-time lineup.

Some criticized The Cosby Show for not showing black life properly. Cosby made no mention of the War on Drugs, AIDS, and street crime. These were raging issues during its run. The show ignored issues of poverty, police brutality, housing, and job discrimination.

Lisa Bonet got pregnant, while a part of the cast. She was unwed. It was an opportunity to show single motherhood. Instead, Lisa Bonet was fired from the cast and the issue was dropped.

Despite the criticisms, The Cosby Show gave black people a positive and uplifting image. Its impact shaped future TV shows that had black people, for decades.

Kanye West Called Out President Bush



New York, New York - Kanye West made his famous statement about the Katrina response, of the United States government. He ended with 'George Bush doesn't care about black people.'

Aiyana Jones Killed By Police



Detroit, Michigan - On Sunday, in a midnight police raid, Joseph Weekley killed Aiyana Jones. It was part of a reality television show.

Detroit Special Response Team (SRT, aka SWAT) workers burst into the home of 7-year old Aiyana (pictured left). She slept next to her grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

Unknown to them, Detroit police prepared to raid the home. It was filmed for the reality television show on AMC, called First 48.

At 12:40 a.m., the police assault team threw a flash bang grenade. It went through the front window of the home, where Aiyana slept.

The grenade caused Aiyana's clothing to catch fire. As Mertilla tried to put out the fire, Weekley entered the home. He was armed with an MP5 machine gun and a ballistic shield..

Inside the home, Weekley shot and killed Aiyana. Weekley claimed Mertilla grabbed his gun. No fingerprints from Mertilla were found on Weekley's MP5 gun.

Weekley was not fired. Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, cleared Weekley of any charges for Aiyana's murder.

A protest was held in 2016, for Aiyana's murder. Weekley had been selected to co-chair the Detroit Police Department's Committee on Race and Equality.

Leaving Neverland Aired



New York City, New York - HBO showed Leaving Neverland, in two (2) parts. Part One (1) was shown Sunday and Part Two (2) was shown Monday.

The story made claims that Michael Jackson hurt two young white boys, from sexual acts. There were no facts, no evidence, and no one else to confirm the claims. Further, the two white boys never claimed Michael Jackson harmed them, until they got money to do so.

Michael Jackson died June 25, 2009, almost ten (10) years before this show aired. Jackson had no record for any crime of child abuse. While he had been tried, courts found no facts to support any charges against him.

Leaving Neverland implied Jackson was a child abuser. This was not backed by the courts, the law, nor any past record of abuse.

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Why No Criticism About Leaving Neverland

After Neverland Aired on HBO



New York, New York - After Neverland aired, on HBO, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. It followed Leaving Neverland Part 2. In the show, three (3) white males joined Winfrey in verbal attacks against the long-dead Michael Jackson. The two white accusers were Wade Robson and James Safechuck. They were joined by the white director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed. Winfrey had no one to defend Jackson, on the show.

In the hour-long show, Winfrey gave the two white men a platform to make abuse claims against Jackson. The audience was picked from sexual abuse victims. No facts were given by the white men to support or verify their claims of abuse by Jackson.

Later that year, Winfrey tried to distance herself from After Neverland. She removed videos and comments she made. Winfrey denied it was an attack on the legacy of Jackson. The Jackson estate and Jackson family strongly denied and disputed any claims of child abuse by Jackson.

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Oprah Backtracks After Neverland

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