Dn! In Depth

Black History on Democracy Now!

As the United States marks Black History Month, browse our interviews about the Black Lives Matter Movement, and with guests who where there when history was being made: 1968 Olympic medalist and international civil rights icon John Carlos, Black Panther Party leader Kathleen Cleaver, and Claudette Colvin–often called "the other Rosa Parks" because she was the first African American to refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery Alabama, and many more. You can also see rare speeches by Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; musical performances by pioneering musicians like pianist and composer Randy Weston; and interviews with historians like Craig Steven Wilder, author of "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities." Don’t miss our extended conversation with Ava DuVernay about her film, "Selma." See more on our YouTube channel here.

Top Stories

  • Screenshot2015-01-19at8.26.25am
    In a Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio Archives exclusive, we air a newly discovered recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On December 7, 1964, days before he received the Nobel Peace...
    Jan 19, 2015 | Story
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    As Democracy Now! continues to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, we are joined by his daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, and friend, A. Peter Bailey. Both were inside...
    Feb 24, 2015 | Story
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    As we continue our interview with "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, she responds to the controversy around her film’s portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson and his...
    Jan 27, 2015 | Story
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    Watch an extended web-only interview with Ilyasah Shabazz and A. Peter Bailey. They were both inside the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965, the day Malcolm X was shot dead. Shabazz was just two years old, while Bailey was among the last people to speak with Malcolm X that day.
    Feb 24, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Blackpanthers-vanguard-film-1
    With groups around the country taking on issues of police brutality and accountability, we go back 50 years to another movement confronting the same issues. We spend the hour looking at a new documentary that just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution." It tells the history of the Black Panther Party through rare archival footage and interviews with party leaders, rank-and-file...
    Jan 30, 2015 | Story
  • Malcolm-x-3
    This weekend, people around the country marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, known as Malcolm X — one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. In New York City, family members and former colleagues led a memorial ceremony in the former Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was gunned down on February 21, 1965. The Audubon Ballroom is now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial...
    Feb 23, 2015 | Story
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    In 2008, the legendary Detroit-based activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs joined Democracy Now! for an extended interview. In this never-aired excerpt, Boggs talks about how she knew Malcolm X and how he influenced her.
    Feb 20, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Malcolm-x-9
    This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. He was shot dead as he spoke before a packed audience at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. Malcolm X had just taken the stage when shots rang out riddling his body with bullets. He was 39 years old. Details of his assassination remain disputed to this day. We air highlights from...
    Feb 20, 2015 | Story
  • Moores-ford-lynching-bridge-1
    Federal authorities are reportedly investigating whether people who carried out one of the worst mass lynchings in recent history are still alive and can be brought to justice. It was July 25, 1946, when a white mob in rural Georgia ambushed a car carrying two African-American couples, dragged them out and shot them to death. One of the men, George Dorsey, was a military veteran who had recently returned from serving five years overseas in...
    Feb 20, 2015 | Story
  • Lynching-report
    A new report has uncovered shocking details about the history of lynchings in the United States and their legacy today. After five years of exhaustive research and interviews with local historians and descendants of lynching victims, the Equal Justice Initiative found white Southerners lynched nearly 4,000 black men, women and children between 1877 and 1950 — a total far higher than previously known. The report details a 1916 attack in...
    Feb 11, 2015 | Story
  • 2015-0218_thumb_ferguson-lawsuit
    Monday marked six months since a white police officer killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting sparked protests over Brown’s death and the broader racial divide it came to symbolize. Now, half a year later, a major legal action is taking that divide head-on. On Sunday, more than a dozen St. Louis-area residents filed class-action lawsuits against Ferguson and another suburb, Jennings. The residents...
    Feb 10, 2015 | Story
  • 2014-1215_seg2_nycmarch3
    Saturday’s nationwide actions against police killings and racial profiling included a "Millions March" that drew tens of thousands to the streets of New York City. It was the largest single protest of the post-Ferguson movement and the culmination of daily actions in New York City since a grand jury elected not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner. After gathering in Washington Square Park, a massive crowd...
    Dec 15, 2014 | Story
  • S1-ferguson3
    Since the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown two months ago, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, have defied a militarized crackdown and taken to the streets to call for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who shot him. Their efforts have made Ferguson the ground zero for the movement against police brutality and racial bias. Democracy Now! was there this weekend when thousands of people traveled to St. Louis to take part in...
    Oct 13, 2014 | Story
  • Michaelbrownfuneralattendees
    Thousands of people lined up to pay their respects at Michael Brown’s funeral on Monday in St. Louis, Missouri. The killing of the 18-year-old African American by a white police officer in Ferguson has sparked weeks of protest and conversations about race, both around the country and in the local community. Democracy Now!’s Aaron Maté was in St. Louis and spoke with mourners as they filed into the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist...
    Aug 26, 2014 | Story
  • Ericgarnerrally
    On Saturday, thousands marched in Staten Island, New York, to protest the death of Eric Garner, who died on July 17 after police placed him in a chokehold and then pinned him to the ground. At the march, demonstrators chanted "I can’t breathe!" referring to the 11 times Eric Garner said that as he was held down by New York City Police Department officers. Many have called for the officers in the case to be brought to justice....
    Aug 25, 2014 | Story
  • Amys_column_default_640x360_2014
    By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

    Thousands are protesting the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Four miles south in the quietude of Calvary Cemetery, lies Dred Scott, the man born a slave who famously fought for his freedom in the courts.

    Aug 21, 2014 | Columns & Articles
  • Dredscott
    Just miles away from the scene of the protests in Ferguson lies the grave of Dred Scott at the Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant Avenue. Born a slave in Virginia, Scott sued in a St. Louis court for his freedom. The case went to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1857 decision that African Americans were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in federal courts. The court described blacks as "beings...
    Aug 18, 2014 | Story
  • King-afilmrecorded-1
    In a Black History Month special, we air excerpts of a rarely seen Oscar-nominated documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the rise of the civil rights movement. Produced by Ely Landau, "King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis" is made from original newsreel footage and other original video footage shot of marches, rallies and church services. "King" was originally screened for one night only in 1970 in more...
    Feb 25, 2013 | Story
  • Amiri-baraka
    We spend the hour looking at the life and legacy of Amiri Baraka, the poet, playwright and political organizer who died Thursday at the age of 79. Baraka was a leading force in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1963 he published "Blues People: Negro Music in White America," known as the first major history of black music to be written by an African American. A year later he published a collection of poetry titled...
    Jan 10, 2014 | Story
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    Watch this online-only extended interview on the life and legacy of Amiri Baraka, the poet, playwright and political organizer who died Thursday at the age of 79. We talk to four of his friends and play some of Amiri Baraka in his own words. [includes rush transcript]
    Jan 10, 2014 | Web Exclusive
  • Ebonyivy1.jpg
    We spend the hour with the author of a new book, 10 years in the making, that examines how many major U.S. universities — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Williams and the University of North Carolina, among others — are drenched in the sweat, and sometimes the blood, of Africans brought to the United States as slaves. In "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities,"...
    Nov 29, 2013 | Story
  • Cornelwestlive
    The renowned scholar, author and activist Dr. Cornel West, joins us to discuss his latest book, "Black Prophetic Fire." West engages in conversation with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf about six revolutionary African-American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells. Even as the United States is led by its first black president, West says he...
    Oct 06, 2014 | Story
  • Ta-nehisicoates
    An explosive new cover story in the June issue of The Atlantic magazine by the famed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has rekindled a national discussion on reparations for American slavery and institutional racism. Coates explores how slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and federally backed housing policy systematically robbed African Americans of their possessions and prevented them from accruing intergenerational wealth. Much of the essay focuses on...
    May 29, 2014 | Story