In January, the expectation is that we have an opportunity to begin anew. With mental clarity comes a refreshed attitude following a time to reflect, enabling each and every one of us to focus on recommitting to our newfound, and unachieved, goals. For us at WORLD, that means presenting you with new films and differing perspectives from diverse filmmakers and communities.
This month, The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special, a new documentary by Yoruba Richen (“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks”), kicks off the year by rethinking reparations for Black Americans. Within the film lies personal stories of how people and institutions across the country are holding their ancestry and privilege accountable while making amends in unique and genuine ways. The Cost of Inheritance premieres on PBS on January 8 with a special broadcast on Monday, January 15 on WORLD in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Throughout the rest of the month, you can also watch three new episodes of Stories from the Stage; Legacy of Love, a look at the commitment between Dr. King and Coretta Scott King to one another and the civil rights movement; an encore presentation of Fannie Lou Hamer’s America; and more.
Fannie Lou Hamer's America: An America ReFramed Special
January 4 on TV, online & on the PBS app | Available now on Amazon Prime & Apple TV+
A portrait of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Through public speeches, personal interviews and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist, the film explores and celebrates the lesser-known life of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest leaders.
Finding Your Roots
Sundays starting January 7 on TV & on the PBS app
For more than a decade, renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has helped to expand America’s sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom and compassion. Professor Gates has explored the ancestry of dozens of influential people from diverse backgrounds, taking millions of viewers deep into the past to reveal the connections that bind us all.
NEW Bucket List | Stories from the Stage
January 7 on TV, online & on the PBS app
A bucket list is a way to keep track of our dreams. It also offers a deeply personal look at who we are. List in hand, Connie Chin aims to close the gap with her heritage and language; KiM Capone-Sprague transforms a quest for physical perfection into a profound lesson in self-love and integrity; and Keith Serry turns a Phoebe Bridgers concert into an unforgettable bonding experience with his teen children.
NEW The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special
January 8 on your local PBS station, online, and on the PBS app & PBS’s YouTube | January 15 and 18 on WORLD
Explore the complex issue of reparations in the U.S. through a thoughtful approach to history, historical injustices, systemic inequities and critical dialogue on racial conciliation. Through personal narratives, community inquiries and scholarly insights, the film aims to inspire understanding of the scope and rationale of the reparations debate.
Beyond Utopia | Independent Lens
January 10 on TV, online & on the PBS app
They grew up believing their land was paradise. Now, they risk everything in escaping it. In this unforgettable documentary, follow families on a treacherous journey to defect from their homeland of North Korea, as the threat of severe punishment and possible execution looms over their passage, revealing a world many have never seen.
The Death of My Two Fathers | America ReFramed
January 11 on TV, online & on the PBS app
After 20 years, Sol Guy finally watches his late father’s tapes and embarks on a personal journey of healing and reconciliation. At once a conversation between past and present and a letter to Sol’s children, his story reveals the complexities of identity, the persistence of racial trauma, the challenges of fatherhood – and the liberation that exists in facing our own mortality.
NEW Legacy of Love | Local, USA
January 15 on TV | Available now on the PBS app
This documentary reveals the romantic relationship between Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Jr. when they met as college students and their dreams for a life of activism and family. Using historical dramatizations, rare historic archival footage and images of the Kings in their early years the film exemplifies how, from the beginning, they were committed to making the country a better place.
Brief Tender Light | POV
January 17 on TV, online & on the PBS app
At the elite MIT, a Ghanaian alum follows four African students striving to become agents of positive change back home. Even as their dreams are anchored in the societies they left, their daily realities are defined by America. Each must refine their ideas about the world and about themselves and, ultimately, how to transform youthful ideals into action as adults.
Reel Midwest: Homegrown
January 18 & 25 on TV & on the PBS app
"Reel Midwest: Homegrown" is a collection of eight documentary short films by diverse filmmakers that illuminate the living histories, cultures and prospective futures of the American Midwest.
A quest does not require you to be a knight in shining armor. But you do need a dream, some courage and a little luck. After fleeing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Zalaikha Wahid rebuilds her life in the United States; Karen Kirsten makes an emotional pilgrimage to Poland to learn about her Holocaust survivor mother's past and faith; and Meg Stafford embraces her adventurous spirit to visit her daughter, who provides unarmed protection to farmers in remote Colombia.
Racist Trees | Independent Lens
January 24 on TV, online & on the PBS app
When an activist campaigns for the removal of a controversial wall of trees, one which forms a barrier believed to segregate the community, the history of racial tension in the city comes to light.
Israel's Second Front | FRONTLINE
January 24 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Amid concerns of a widening conflict in the Middle East, correspondent Ramita Navai reports from the West Bank about the growing tensions on the ground. With the war raging in Gaza, Navai investigates rising support for militant groups, including Hamas, since the Oct. 7 attack, Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the West Bank and the implications for a region on edge.
NEW Sound Check | Stories from the Stage
January 29 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Music has the power to define our narratives. Each chord strummed or note belted out is as much about shaping identity as it is about the art itself. Melissa Ferrick takes a gig as the opening act for the enigmatic Bob Dylan in an evening charged with history and expectation; Jeffrey Foucault delivers a perfect show to a deserted bar in Des Moines, Iowa and learns a little about art and fame; and Jason Prokowiew finds his voice and emerges into the spotlight, revealing not just a singer, but a young man coming into his own.
Razing Liberty Square | Independent Lens
January 31 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Liberty City, Miami, was home to one of the oldest segregated public housing projects in the U.S. Now with rising sea levels, the neighborhood’s higher ground has become something else: real estate gold. Wealthy property owners push inland to higher ground, creating a speculators’ market in the historically Black neighborhood previously ignored by developers and policy-makers alike.
FIRSTHAND: Gun Violence | Local, USA
January 1 on TV | Available now online & on the PBS app & YouTube
The number of gun violence victims in Chicago may fluctuate, but the psychological trauma in many neighborhoods is constant. How do wounded communities heal? Explore the personal stories of people whose lives have been affected and how each, in their own way, is transforming pain and struggle into hope and action.
There is a first time for everything. In many cases, firsts are game changers, becoming unforgettable lessons for life. Erin navigates her first steps into puberty; Dyan's first encounter with a penguin takes her halfway across the globe; and Ali’s dad helps ease the pain of his first car accident.
WHY SLAVERY? | Doc World
January 3 & 4 on TV | Available now on YouTube & on the PBS app
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” An estimated 40.3 million people are living as slaves, a number more than at any other time in history – including during the transatlantic slave trade. From North Korea to the Middle East and Europe, this series uncovers the stories of men, women and children living in the shadows of modern enslavement.
Extremism in America | Local, USA
January 8 on TV | Available now online & on the PBS app, Prime Video, Apple TV+ & YouTube
According to government officials, domestic terrorism by white supremacists is the nation's most urgent threat. Learn how the spread of extremist beliefs and violence was downplayed for decades by policymakers and law enforcement even as this dangerous ideology, fueled by racism, grew into a potent force today. In partnership with Retro Report and The WNET Group’s Exploring Hate initiative.
Newsworthy | Stories from the Stage
January 15 on TV | Available now online & on the Facebook & PBS apps
The news is often attention grabbing. But sometimes the story behind the story is just as interesting as the headlines. Phillip navigates civil rights strife in Boston, MA; Anne manages a local news phone line as Nixon’s White House collapses; and Jeff gives a disastrous speech with a very influential guest in the audience.
NEW Raising the Floor
January 19 on YouTube
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the majority Latinx city of Chelsea, MA spiraling into chaos. Hundreds of citizens waited in lines for food, prompting city leaders to come up with a simple but inspired idea: a Guaranteed Income to be spent on basic necessities.
Big Chief, Black Hawk | America ReFramed
January 25 on TV | Available now online & on the PBS app & YouTube
Big Chief Tee is a high school senior and the youngest Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief in New Orleans. During COVID-19, he and the Black Hawk Hunters navigate the impacts of gentrification and systemic racism on their annual masking tradition. Through haute couture, movement and words, this story celebrates the beauty and resilience of “the culture” even in the face of crisis and change.
Discuss and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok by using the hashtag #CostOfInheritancePBS and tagging us @worldchannel. Subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube for more features including events and interviews.