Playlist African American History

African American History

Willard Motley. Photo: Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress

The First Bud Billiken

Daniel Hautzinger

Willard Motley wrote stories for children in the Chicago Defender as the first "Bud Billiken" while he was a teen, then went on to write hardboiled novels about Chicago's down-and-out. But he was criticized for writing about white instead of Black characters.
First Church of Deliverance in Chicago. Photo: Lee Bey

The Bold Architecture of Chicago's Black Churches

Daniel Hautzinger

Discover some of Chicago's most architecturally extraordinary Black churches. "I think there's a conscious push to embrace the new," says architectural photographer and writer Lee Bey, "of throwing off the chains of the past."
Image: Heard & Moseley, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (reproduction no. LC-DIG-ppmsca-10980)

Why Black Americans Celebrate Watch Night on New Year's Eve

Tim Russell

On December 31, 1862, free Blacks and Black slaves gathered to await the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year's Day. The Black community has continued to celebrate Watch Night or Freedom's Eve ever since.

Ten Documentaries and Ten Books on Race in America

Daniel Hautzinger

With America again in the midst of a public reckoning on race and racism, WTTW's head of community engagement, Tim Russell, was asked by a friend for recommendations on what to read and watch about race in America. Here are his lists.
Rev. William Barber II calls for justice for Lennon Lacy at a December 2014 rally. Photo: Peter Eversoll

WTTW Programming Addressing Race and Racism

Daniel Hautzinger

WTTW will broadcast and make available to stream a series of films and new specials focused on race in America following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the ensuing protests that erupted across the country.
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