Performing Black Power
in the “Cradle of Liberty”
Say Brother Envisions New Principles
of Blackness in Boston

by Devorah Heitner (Lake Forest College)

This article examines the early history of Boston’s black public affairs television pro-
gram Say Brother from 1968–1970. This history shows that as a local broadcast,
WGBH’s Say Brother could take a more outspoken position than a national program,
such as Black Journal, could have taken. The article explores the radical pedagogy
offered by Say Brother, which attempted to impart “new principles of Blackness” to its
viewers using multiple genres. Through an analysis of the archived program and inter-
views with former staff members, the article demonstrates how Say Brother’s youthful
creators took advantage of establishment fears about black uprisings to create an openly
critical television show that examined black discontent, showcased black viewpoints and
black artists and overcame a cancellation attempt by rallying community response. (download)