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BLACK JOURNAL
BLACK JOURNAL

23 episodes, 1968 to 1970
ABOUT THE FILM
For information on how to stream Black Journal please contact Alexander Street Press (ASP) directly. The subsequent episodes of Black Journal are available separately as part of ASP’s “Black History on Video” collection.


Black Journal is a landmark in American broadcast history as the first nationally-televised, regularly-scheduled African American public affairs program. Now, for the first time since their broadcast, its first two seasons (1968-1970), twenty-three episodes in all, are available to students, scholars, and the public. They offer an unprecedented inside look at a pivotal period for the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements of the 1960s from the perspective of the African Americans making the news and shaping Black opinion.

The release of Black Journal also pays tribute to William Greaves, (1926-2014) a pioneering African American actor and later independent filmmaker; his life-long advocacy for African American voices in the media is memorialized in an article from the Black Film Center/Archive. Greaves was Co-Host for the first few episodes of Black Journal in 1968 but after a strike by Black personnel who demanded Black editorial control, he was appointed Executive Producer as well. This path-breaking series resulted from a far-sighted collaboration between WNET-13 in New York, the Ford Foundation, and other funders and was continued under different sponsorship and producers for a further one thousand episodes, fueling discussions within African American communities over the coming years.

Black Journal reported on the impact of the recent assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the government’s secret campaign against the Black Panther Party, the election of Richard Nixon as President, liberation movements in Mozambique and South Africa, as well as school bussing, housing integration, and labor struggles from Mississippi to New York. It interviewed Black leaders from across the political spectrum: Julian Bond, Huey P. Newton, Roy Innis, Kwame Turé (Stokely Carmichael), Hon. Elijah Mohammad, Betty Shabazz, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Coretta Scott King. They and many others debate future directions for the Black Freedom Struggle – electoral politics, Black Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, self-determination in Black communities, Black entrepreneurship.

Black Journal also featured prominent African American artists, including James Brown, Ed Bullins, Nina Simone, Melvin Van Peebles, Roberta Flack, John Lee Hooker, and Nikki Giovanni showing how the ferment in Black American life was reflected in the country’s cultural life. A detailed table of contents for all twenty-three episodes follows. The series’ coverage of breaking news has taken on added depth over the intervening decades since it provides unique live coverage of the emergence of many of the political and cultural trends still shaping African American life.

California Newsreel is proud to have made possible the transfer of the deteriorating, original analog video tapes to high resolution digital files so Black Journal can be preserved as a permanent part of the record of the African American Freedom Struggle. We are honored to have collaborated with the Estate of William Greaves to make these invaluable historical documents available to researchers and activists now and in the future. We are pleased that Alexander Street Press, a leading academic video publisher, has agreed to offer the full 23-episode archive over their state-of-the-art, semantically searchable streaming platform - the most convenient format for the series’ scholarly use.

For an excellent resource highlighting the significance of Black Journal in African American and Broadcast History check out the following excerpt from the book Black Power TV

“No Thanks for Tokenism: Telling Stories from a Black Nation, Black Journal, 1968-70.” in Black Power TV by Devorah Heitner (Duke University Press, 2013)

OTHER DIGITAL OPTIONS
Alexander Street Press - Academic collection and single title subscriptions
Please place all digital subscription and rental orders directly with those providers.

CRITICAL COMMENT
“I'm thrilled that the first seasons of Black Journal are now digitized. The series illuminated a crucial period in the African-American Freedom Struggle with programs featuring discussions that tried to respond to Martin Luther King's final challenging and enduring question: Where do we go from here?”
Clayborne Carson, Stanford University
“I remember seeing the very first edition of Black Journal and realizing that Bill Greaves was ahead of the times – so much so that his pioneering work then helped shape the times. He showed us that both the past and present --- history and journalism – were essential to a full account of American life.”
Bill Moyers
“An archive of art and realism that remains vital to this day. I was a huge fan of the riveting series, Black Journal, which challenged the generation living through the convulsive years of the late sixties to wrestle with and define for ourselves the true meaning of access, mobility, and power. Anyone seeking a more enlightened ‘conversation on race’ today should go back to the brilliant series and, working through it, understand the foundation upon which race relations in America today is constructed.”
Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University
"Black Journal was the pacesetter. Public television, at its best, challenges us to reexamine our assumptions and expand our inventory of ideas. Black Journal did that and more, introducing Americans to each other. We owe this groundbreaking show a deep debt."
Tavis Smiley
"Anyone interested in American media and politics should make sure to study the wide-ranging work."
John L. Jackson, Jr., University of Pennsylvania

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RELATED LINKS
For information on how to stream Black Journal please contact Alexander Street Press (ASP) directly. The subsequent episodes of Black Journal are available separately as part of ASP’s “Black History on Video” collection.

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