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Black History Month at NPR 2023

Happy Black History Month
Hassan Burke
Happy Black History Month


This month NPR honors and acknowledges the role of Black people in our history and their influence on our society and culture. Join us as we share playlists, stories, Tiny Desk concerts, conversations and other special events.

Follow along all month long while we celebrate the past, present and future, find updated NPR Black History Month stories here.


NPR Music

Black History Month Tiny Desk Lineup
/ Jackie Lay
Jackie Lay
Black History Month Tiny Desk Lineup

Tiny Desk:

"We take tremendous pride in showcasing the many facets of Black culture through music at the Tiny Desk. While we do this year-round, it's only fitting that we turn it up a notch in February, highlighting the best in jazz, gospel, hip hop, R&B, soul and pop in a way that you'll only hear behind the Desk," said NPR Music'sBobby Carter, Senior Producer, NPR Music.

Some of the artists you can expect to hear:

Lady Wray

Theo Crocker


Lee Fields

Tamela Mann


Omah Lay

See more details here.

Stay tuned for publication dates...


New season of Amplify on YouTube

In collaboration with Classical California (KUSC Los Angeles and KDFC San Francisco), NPR Music and Visuals and Lara Downes announce the return of AMPLIFY With Lara Downes, a series of intimate, profoundly personal video conversations with visionary Black artists and cultural leaders who are shaping our creative present and future. The third season launches Thursday Feb.2nd , on NPRMusic.org, YouTube and social media platforms, beginning with the young jazz sensation Samara Joy, a Grammy nominee and winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.


2/23: NPR x Smithsonian Twitter Spaces conversation on The Black Press and how the press has been used as a tool of resistance.


The Black History Month collection features stories honoring Black history and culture from NPR podcasts and member stations across the country.


Alt. Latino podcast tile.
Alt. Latino podcast tile.


This month NPR's podcast exploring Latinx history and cultural context through music in a conversational way, will be focusing on music from Afro Latinx musicians. Let the chisme begin!

2/1 - Cimafunk

The Cuban vocalist talks about his connection to the rich Afro Cuban culture that fuels his music and his identity.

2/8 - Cuban Piano 101

A short history of the Cuban piano style that is a perfect blend of European music and Afro Cuban rhythm.

2/15 - Adrian Quesada

During an interview with the prolific Austin based producer/musician, we hear about how Mexican and African American musicians created a distinct Texas soul sound in the years after WWII.

2/22 - Smithsonian Afro Latino Musical Archives

Celebrate Afro Latino music with a deep dive into The Smithsonian's Folkways record label and their collection of authentic folk music from various Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Throughline podcast tile.
Throughline podcast tile.


2/2: Black Panthers

The Black Panther Party's battles for social justice and economic equality are the centerpiece of the Oscar-nominated film 'Judas and The Black Messiah.' In 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said the Black Panther Party "without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country." And with that declaration he used United States federal law enforcement to wage war on the group. But why did Hoover's FBI target the Black Panther Party more severely than any other Black power organization? Historian Donna Murch says the answer lies in the Panthers' political agenda and a strategy that challenged the very foundations of American society.

2/23 : House Music

Ever since Beyonce's Renaissance dropped last summer, house music has found its way back to mainstream audiences prompting some to ask "Is House back?," but the truth is it never went away. Born out of the ashes of disco in the warehouses of Chicago by Black queer youth in the late 70s and 80s, house music has been the continued soundtrack of parties around the world and laid the groundwork for the most popular musical genre in the world – electronic dance music. And yet, the deeper you dig into the origins of house music the more clear it becomes that the history of house, like the history of rock and roll, is a complicated tale of Black cultural resistance, musical migration and appropriation.

Code Switch podcast tile.
Kelly Manno / Kelly Manno
Kelly Manno
Code Switch podcast tile.

Code Switch:

2/8: NFL - Rooney Rule

What does the Rooney Rule — the most high-profile diversity plan in US life — tell us about why DEI initiatives fail?

2/22: Carter G. Woodson

This is the odd story of the descendants of Carter G. Woodson – father of Black history – and their relationship to the man whose ancestors enslaved their own. It will go into the limits of genealogy, the limits of apology and the strange ways that these relationships play out.

It's Been a Minute podcast tile
It's Been a Minute podcast tile

It's Been a Minute

02/03: Look Back at Luther Vandross

On this episode, host Brittany Luse speaks to music journalist Craig Seymour about how Luther changed the sound of R&B, and how his imprint on the culture still shows up today.

Samara Joy

How do you make music feel timeless as a Gen Z jazz singer? It's Been a Minute explores this question with jazz singer Samara Joy.

Black Archives

It's Been a Minute will feature Renata Cherlise, author and founder of Black Archives.

Short Wave podcast tile.
Short Wave podcast tile.

Short Wave:

2/1: Ancient Night Skies

Moiya McTier talks with us about what night skies humans saw thousands of years ago and what mythologies emerged.

2/7: Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximeters are used to read blood oxygen levels and sometimes are used to determine if someone should be hospitalized. But they don't seem to work well on Black skin. Guest Kimani Toussaint is part of a lab that is working on technology to fix this issue.

2/13: Crickets and Model Organisms

Cassandra Extavour is a leading biologist at Harvard who has upended several long-held evolutionary hypotheses. She thinks it's important for the field of biology to be focused on a diversity of model organisms, and she's a big fan of one in particular: crickets.

Subatomic Music

Learn about neutrinos and how neutrino physicist Teppei Katori was inspired to combine his passions for music and physics, resulting in an unlikely musical instrument.

Australian Tomato

Tanisha Williams, a botanist, plant ecologist and co-founder of #BlackBotanistsWeek, returns to Short Wave to discuss her team's discovery of the Garrarnawun Bush Tomato (Solanum scalarium) - a previously undocumented plant in the Australian Outback that was growing in plain sight.

TED Radio Hour podcast tile.
TED Radio Hour podcast tile.

Ted Radio Hour

The Three Mothers

MLK Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin are household names, but what about their mothers? This hour, author Anna Malaika Tubbs explores how these three women shaped American history.


Morning Edition podcast tile..
Morning Edition podcast tile..

Morning Edition

2/1: The Woodsons:

An American story if there ever was one. The story of Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Week, and his white slave-holding ancestors and their reconciliation.

2/2: Bruce's Beach

Activists aren't so happy with the Black family that got their stolen beach returned, then turned around and sold it back to LA for $20 million.


2/1 Ya Books Roundup:

5 Winter 2023 Contemporary YA Novels about Identity and Overcoming Hardship

2/2 Book Review: Black on Black

Daniel Black's Black on Black: On Our Resilience and Brilliance in America is a collection of essays that dig deep into Blackness, history, and racial tension in this country, while simultaneously serving as a powerful call to action and a celebration of Black culture.

Find your Member station's Black History Month coverage here:

Houston Public Media

Lakeshore Public Media





HBCU Member Stations

Did you know that there are many NPR Member stations who are licensed to HBCUs? You can check out the wide variety of programming they provide, such as jazz and gospel music, news, and how they serve their communities overall:

WSNC-FM Winston-Salem State University

WSSB-FM South Carolina State University

WPRL-FM Alcorn State University

WCSU-FM Central State University

WNCU-FM North Carolina Central University

WEAA-FM Morgan State University

WVAS-FM Alabama State University

KPVU-FM Prairie View A&M University

WJAB-FM Alabama A&M University

WURC-FM Rust College, Inc.

WRVS-FM Elizabeth City State University

WCLK-FM Clark Atlanta University

WJSU-FM Jackson State University

WESM-FM University of Maryland- Eastern Shore

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sommer Hill
Sommer Hill (she/her) is the social media associate for NPR Extra. She started with NPR in May 2021. Her primary responsibilities include managing the social media accounts for NPR Extra, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok, as well as managing the NPR Extra blog.