Black History Month specials are under way, although the angle on "black history"
gets some loose interpretation: Sony Movie Channel, for instance, has devoted its
Take Two movies on Tuesdays to stars such as
Morgan Freeman (Feb. 5), Denzel
(Feb. 12), Sidney Poitier (Feb. 19), and Richard Pryor (Feb. 26).
Comcast also bundled offerings in its site.

"North and South," based on the John Jakes novels, has been revived for Encore. For
those who missed the Civil War trilogy (which originally aired in the 1980s), the
six-part miniseries starred
Patrick Swayze and a host of TV actors. The real game is
spotting the A-list cameos that include
Elizabeth Taylor, Hal Holbrook, Gene Kelly,
Jimmy Stewart, Robert Mitchum, and Johnny Cash.
The emphasis is on
friendships between gentleman farmers and moneyed city folk torn asunder, although
there were a few key roles for black actors, among them Robert
("Benson") as Frederick Douglass, and a young Forest Whitaker.

For premiere original programming, Lifetime zeroes in on the female demographic
with a triple threat:
"Twist of Faith," "Pastor Brown," and most notably "Betty &
Coretta." The latter pairs the fabulous
Angela Bassett and Mary Blige as,
respectively, the widows of
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X -- and just to
make sure you remember this is a Lifetime Picture, the trailer has
Coretta King
confessing to
Betty Shabazz in hushed tones about her husband's infidelity.

Online, BET hosts a range of videos from "Celebs on Their Favorite American Films"
to "
Is Black History Month Still Relevant?" Among the broadcast channels, PBS
has a lock on all the specials, ranging from Gwen Ifill's profile on Motown legend
Berry Gordy to a look at "Freedom Riders."

Below, a few TV highlights. Dates and times are provided when available; check
your local listings for airings.

Black History Month TV highlights
Feb. 1 - "NAACP Image Awards" (NBC)
Feb. 2 - "Soul Train Weekend" (CentricTV); "Betty & Coretta" (Lifetime) 8 PM
Feb. 3 - "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal" (Encore) 10 AM
Feb. 4 - "North and South", Episodes 1 and 2 (Encore) 8 PM, repeats 10 AM Feb. 10
Feb. 5 - "Pioneers of TV: Roots Special" (PBS); "North and South", Episode 3
(Encore) 8 PM, repeats 11:33 AM Feb. 10
Feb. 6 - "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" (Bounce TV) 9 PM; "North and South",
Episode 4 (Encore) 8 PM
Feb. 7 - "Lifecasters": Sherri "Sparkle" Williams (PBS); "North and South", Episode 5
(Encore) 8 PM
Feb. 8 - "North and South", Episode 6 (Encore) 8 PM
Feb. 9 - "Whitney Houston/New Edition Weekend" (CentricTV), repeats Feb. 10;
"Twist of Faith" (Lifetime) 8 PM, repeats 12 AM and 9 PM Feb. 10; "North and
South", Episode 5 (Encore) 8 PM
Feb. 10 - "North and South" marathon (Encore) 10 AM; "Third and a Mile: The History
of the Black Quarterback" (ESPN Classic) 10 AM; "A Race Story": Wendell Scott
(ESPN Classic) 4 PM; "At the River I Stand" (Starz) 7 PM; "Revolution '67" (Starz) 8

Feb. 11 - "BET Honors 2013" (BET) 9 PM; "Rising from the Rails" (Bounce TV) 10 PM

Feb. 13 - "Slavery By Another Name" (PBS) 10 PM

Feb. 15 - "Underground Railroad: The William Still Story" (PBS) 10:30 PM

Feb. 16 - "A Celebration of Jazz" (CentricTV), repeats Feb. 17; "Stories from the
Road to Freedom" (History) 8 PM; "Pastor Brown" (Lifetime) 8 PM, repeats 12 AM
Feb. 17 and 9 PM Feb. 17

Feb. 17 - "North and South II" marathon (Encore) 10 AM; "Nat Turner: A Troublesome
Property" (Starz) 7 PM; "Banished" (Starz) 8 PM, repeats 11 PM on Starz in Black;
"Miracle Rising: South Africa" (H2) 10 PM, repeats 12 PM Feb. 23 on History Channel

Feb. 18 - "The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights" (PBS) 10 PM

Feb. 22 - Joe Louis bouts (ESPN Classic) 12 AM; "Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The
Godmother of Rock and Roll" (PBS); "Stevie Wonder Weekend" (CentricTV)

Feb. 23 - "Stevie Wonder Weekend" (CentricTV)

Feb. 24 - "Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist" (Starz) 7 PM; "Dare Not
Walk Alone: The War of Responsibility" (Starz) 8 PM

Feb. 25 - "In the Shadow of Hollywood" (Bounce TV) 10 PM

Feb. 26 - "Makers: Women Who Make America" (PBS); SportsCentury marathon
(ESPN Classic) 1 PM

Photo By Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET Wed, Feb 6, 2013 10:00 AM PST.

Tuning into Black History Month specials
By Vera H-C Chan | Yahoo! TV – Fri, Feb 1, 2013 2:47 AM PST

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: (L-R) Lisa Leslie, T.D. Jakes, Halle Berry, Clarence Avant
and Chaka Khan onstage at BET Honors 2013 at Warner Theatre on January 12, 2013 in
Washington, DC