BPM Presents: Orlando Bagwell Film Retrospective

April 25-May 1, 2022

By Leslie Fields-Cruz

Orlando Bagwell, BPM’s 2022 Trailblazer

I am pleased to announce that in coordination with our PitchBLACK Forum and Awards program next week, Black Public Media has arranged for a week-long film retrospective in celebration of our 2022 Trailblazer Orlando Bagwell. The exclusive online event offers a limited series of special, online screenings beginning on Monday, April 25 and ending on Sunday, May 1.

On Thursday, April 28, BPM will officially present Orlando with the Trailblazer Award during our PitchBLACK Awards ceremony. The presentation will include remarks from those whose lives and filmmaking careers have benefited from his work, his teaching and his gracious mentorship.

The PitchBLACK Orland Bagwell Film Retrospective is a rare opportunity, since much of Orlando’s portfolio is not currently available for public screening. Together with our partners at WORLD Channel, we’ve made special arrangements for free, limited-access screenings to all who attend the PitchBLACK programs. The Bagwell Retrospective screening schedule is as follows:

MONDAY, APRIL 25, 8–10 p.m., ET*

Africans in America: The Terrible Transformation (1998) This film is the first episode in the 4-part PBS series Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery. It covers the years 1450–1750, which brought enormous changes to the North American and African continents.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 8–10 p.m., ET*

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994) A chronicle of Malcolm X’s remarkable journey from his birth on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Neb., to his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 8–10 p.m., ET*

Citizen King (2004) Explores the last five years in the life of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Personal recollections and eyewitness accounts of friends, movement associates, journalists, law enforcement officers, and historians illuminate this little-known chapter in the story of 20th century America’s most influential moral leader.


The following Bagwell films, from the groundbreaking Blackside/PBS series Eyes on the Prize (1987), will be available for public streaming on WORLD Channel anytime within the seven-day window:

Ep. 3Ain’t Scared of Your Jails (1960–1961) This film explores how Black college students took a leadership role in the civil rights movement as lunch counter sit-ins spread across the South. It also documents the “Freedom Riders’” efforts to desegregate interstate buses.

Ep. 5 — Mississippi: Is This America? (1963–1964) Mississippi’s grassroots civil rights movement becomes an American concern when college students travel south to help register Black voters and three activists are murdered. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenges the regular Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City.

I hope all of you will take advantage of this unique opportunity. On behalf of the BPM board and staff I send heartfelt thanks to Orlando, the Bagwell family, and to our partners at PBS, ITVS and WORLD for making the retrospective possible. For more information and registration details regarding PitchBLACK 2022 and the Bagwell Retrospective, visit the BPM website.

*Note: these limited-access screenings are available ONLY to those who register to attend one or more of the 2022 PitchBLACK events. A restricted-access code will be emailed to registrants the day of the screenings.

**Streaming links to the “Eyes on the Prize” episodes included in the Bagwell Retrospective will be posted on BPM’s website from Monday, April 25-Sunday May 1.

— Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media


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Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.