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Great Performances: Harlem in Montmartre

Airs Wednesday, August 26 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TVCANCELLED

Above: Django Reinhardt and his Nouveau Quintet

Harlem in Montmartre tells the story of the jazz age in Paris between the First and Second World Wars, exploring a fascinating yet often neglected era in African-American cultural history. After peace was signed at Versailles, many black Americans remained in Europe rather than return to the brutal segregation and racism of America; over the next two decades, they created an expatriate community of musicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs, primarily congregating in Paris’ hilly Montmartre neighborhood. Some achieved enduring fame, while others faded into history. Inspired by William A. Shack’s book and using rare archival material from both France and America, this remarkable documentary features footage of such key figures as James Reese Europe, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Bricktop, Eugene Bullard, Django Reinhardt and many more. S. Epatha Merkerson narrates.

Watch a preview.

This program was cancelled and replaced by American Experience: The Kennedys at 8 p.m. on August 26.