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WTTW’s DuSable To Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis premieres on public television stations nationwide in February 2011

For immediate release
- January 14, 2011

Just in time for Black History Month, WTTW National Productions announced that its award-winning 90-minute documentary DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis has been picked up by PBS and is being made available to public television stations across America beginning in February 2011.

This critically acclaimed 90-minute film, which first debuted on WTTW in June 2010, reveals the lives of the celebrated and the unsung - from the arrival of its first settler Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, to the establishment of the first Black community in the 1840s by free men of color and enslaved Africans seeking freedom, to the election of the nation’s first Black president, Chicago’s own Barack Obama.

In additional to re-enactments and the use of rare images and archival footage, stories from contemporary Chicago natives are used to provide a context for examining the city’s history and the role African Americans played in building this great metropolis. Interview subjects include singer-songwriter Chaka Khan, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, actors Harry Lennix and Stan Shaw, former Senator and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, and many, many more. The film is enhanced by an evocative original score by renowned jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis.

This film has garnered several prestigious awards, including Best Documentary at last year’s International Black Film Festival of Nashville, The Chicago Defender’s Newsmaker Award for 2010, and was chosen to compete in the 22nd annual Pan-African Film and TV Festival aka FESPACO in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso West Africa.

Production of DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis is made possible by ComEd. Major funding is provided by: Illinois Tool Works Inc.; Sara Lee Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; The Black McDonald’s Operators Association; Motorola Foundation; American Airlines; Alberto Culver; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois; Hewitt Associates; and Loop Capital Markets. Generous support is also provided by an Anonymous Donor; Michelle L. Collins; Jim and Kay Mabie; Sandra and Timothy Rand; John and Caroline Ballantine; and Deone Jackman and Eugene Goldwasser. The original Orbert Davis score for Chicago's Black Metropolis was commissioned by WTTW11 and generously underwritten by Northern Trust. For more information, visit

Executive Producers of DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis are Jerry Liwanag and V.J. McAleer. Producers are Barbara E. Allen and Daniel Andries.

About WTTW National Productions

WTTW National Productions is a division of Window to the World Communications, Inc., the parent company of WTTW11 Chicago, the nation’s most-watched public television station. For more than 50 years, WTTW11 and WTTW National Productions have introduced a wide array of groundbreaking television programming – reflecting the world’s rich and diverse arts and entertainment scene as well as education, politics, public affairs, business, and religion – to a national audience. Its landmark innovative series and original productions include the critically-acclaimed performance showcases Soundstage and Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis, Grannies on Safari, CEO Exchange, David Broza at Masada: The Sunrise Concert, MEXICO -- One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless, Retirement Revolution, the animated children’s series WordWorld, and the upcoming Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies. More information about WTTWNational Productions is available at