Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black abandoned a promising Pittsburgh art career to join American Red Cross efforts during World War II. She proposed a unique project to sketch soldiers throughout Europe and send the treasured portraits to worried families back home. Seventy years later, Black’s son uncovered her fascinating memorabilia and shared it with WQED. The poignant story unfolds as we explore Black’s lost art career, seek out elderly veterans who encountered Ms. Black on the battlefield, and present to amazed and appreciative families - portraits that never arrived.

Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black aired on Nov 07, 2013.


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Series: Specials

Educators, politicians and activists discuss the issues that shape the community.

Original airdate: Jun 07, 2018


Tattoos can transform – but in a way that goes far beyond body art. Explore the lives of people who use tattoos for mental health and medical reasons. The compelling documentary introduces self-harm and suicide survivors who use ink to cover their scars, a breast cancer patient who got tattoos to make reconstruction look more realistic and a veteran hoping to hide the wounds of war.

Original airdate: Mar 29, 2018


Groundbreaking, influential, transformative. From its beginnings in 1907, the Pittsburgh Courier has been a leader among the nation’s African American newspapers – sparking historic change on issues ranging from education, housing and employment to discrimination in the military. With rare archival images and compelling interviews, this documentary explores the Courier’s impact on civil rights, social justice, culture and sports. The paper also provided historians with an invaluable chronicle of everyday life in the black community.

Original airdate: Feb 22, 2018


It started with a shipwreck in 1850. Two Irish sweethearts are headed to the New World when calamity strikes. The chaos of the shipwreck separated the couple. But many years later, WQED picks up the story in Pittsburgh where their implausible reunion is a love story for the ages. It’s just one of a collection of poignant, romantic and life-affirming stories set in Western Pennsylvania – all with an engaging musical thread.

Original airdate: Feb 08, 2018


From education to employment, health care to housing, transgender Americans fight daily for their right to exist. How is Pittsburgh responding? This documentary spotlights some of the concerned organizations working on behalf of the region’s transgender population – and also profiles transgender men and women as they define their own authentic lives while navigating an evolving city.

Original airdate: Jan 25, 2018


For many Western Pennsylvanians, a day of cookie baking is as celebratory as the holidays. Families gather in kitchens throughout the region to mix dough, whip frostings and scatter sprinkles. It’s a time to embrace ethnic traditions and remember loved ones who handed down now creased and crumbling recipes. This holiday documentary features a pizzelle-making church group, gingerbread house artists, one of the area’s busiest cookie bakeries, a woman who donates her cookies as a goodwill gesture, and Pittsburgh’s popular cookie tour.

Original airdate: Dec 21, 2017


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