GBH Launches Reckoning + Repair, an In-Depth Initiative Exploring Reparative Justice

by | Jan 22, 2024

Boston, MA – January 22, 2024 – Boston public media producer GBH announced today Reckoning + Repair, an in-depth initiative exploring America’s struggle to come to grips with its history. Reckoning + Repair will investigate the historical record and the discussion underway in Boston and nationwide about reparations for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and their impact on racial inequities.

The multiplatform initiative will include a wide range of content from GBH, including a podcast, documentaries, news features, events, and more. The content will be available on broadcast, YouTube, social media, and in person.  

“The topic of reparations is nuanced and complicated,” said Susan Goldberg, president and CEO at GBH. “With Reckoning + Repair, we want to bring audiences into the conversation in new ways, to create context around the discussion of whether to make amends, and, if so, how.”

The project will begin with a powerful documentary from WORLD, The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramedSpecial, which first aired on January 15 on WORLD.  Currently streaming on worldchannel.org, the film explores the complex issue of reparations in the United States using personal narratives, community inquiries, and scholarly insights to inspire an understanding of the scope and rationale of reparations.

What is Owed? is a seven-part GBH News podcast that will examine Boston’s critical and historic role in the national reparations debate happening across the country and in other parts of the world. Hosted and reported by GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith, the series seeks to understand how reparations might look in one of America’s oldest cities that still struggles to shake stigmas of its past when it comes to racial equity. We dive into lessons for a successful reparations framework through the stories of its architects, past and present. What is Owed? will launch with episode one on February 15.  A new episode will drop weekly through April 4.

Earlier this year, GBH News announced a new Equity and Justice team funded, in part, by Barr Foundation. These reporters and editors will produce multi-platform news features and content focused on racial and socioeconomic equity issues in Greater Boston and beyond, while expanding its commitment to community events, engaging directly with the audience, and elevating community voices using the GBH News platform. The content will be distributed across all GBH News properties, including GBH flagship radio and television shows, YouTube, social and digital platforms, and via partners at New England Public Media (NEPM) in western Massachusetts, the New England News Collaborative (NENC), and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.

Produced at GBH, American Experience is television’s most-watched history series. Beginning in February 2024, American Experience will feature a series of documentary films as part of the Reckoning + Repair initiative. 

  •     Going Back to T-Town, tells the story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma that prospered during the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation. Torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history, the neighborhood rose from the ashes, and by 1936 boasted the largest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S., known as “Black Wall Street.” Told through the memories of those who lived through the events, the film is a bittersweet celebration of small-town life and the resilience of a community’s spirit. Co-produced by Sam Pollard and Joyce Vaughn and written by Carmen Fields. Going Back to T-Town is currently streaming on YouTube and the American Experience website through February 7.
  •     On May 21, American Experience will premiere The Riot Report, a film directed by Michelle Ferrari and written by Ferrari and New Yorker journalist Jelani Cobb.  When Black neighborhoods in scores of American cities erupted in violence during the summer of 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders –– informally known as the Kerner Commission –– to answer three questions: What happened? Why did it happen? And what could be done to prevent it from happening again? The commission’s final report, issued in March of 1968, would offer a shockingly unvarnished assessment of American race relations –– a verdict so politically explosive that Johnson refused to acknowledge it publicly or even thank the commissioners for their service. The Riot Report explores a pivotal moment in our nation’s history and the fraught social dynamics that simultaneously spurred the commission’s investigation and doomed its findings to political oblivion.   

On February 1, GBH will present A Reckoning + Repair Event: The Cost of Inheritance & What is Owed? the first event of this initiative. This special evening will feature a full screening of The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special, followed by a panel discussion with acclaimed film director Yoruba Richen about the U.S. reparations debate. GBH News will offer an exclusive preview of GBH News of the podcast ‘What Is Owed?’ hosted by Saraya Wintersmith, exploring Boston’s history with slavery and economic exclusion and examining models for reparations. The event will take place at the GBH Studios, One Guest Street in Boston. To attend, register here.

Additional content and events will be announced throughout the year. Stay up-to-date on all information visiting and sign up for the GBH Don’t Miss List newsletter. by signing up for the newsletter at gbh.org/reckoningandrepair

About GBH

GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Arthur and Molly of Denali and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. GBH’s television channels include GBH 2, GBH 44, GBH Kids and national services WORLD and Create. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS LearningMedia and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at gbh.org.

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