Date & Time
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Location Virtual Program

Join the Heinz History Center’s African American Program for a free, online screening of “Mr. Soul”, as part of the 2022 From Slavery to Freedom Film Series.

“Mr. Soul” is a documentary film that tells the story of an innovative television program from the 1960s that presented Black culture, politics, history, and current events of the time. Before Oprah, before Arsenio, before Don Cornelius, there was MR. SOUL! Producer, broadcaster, and host of “SOUL!,” Ellis Haizlip made television broadcast history with America’s first “Black Tonight Show.”

“SOUL!” was a predecessor of Soul Train and other Black focused television programs from the period. Soul! Became so popular and provided a platform for Black artists, poets, writers, actors, musicians, and others that the Nixon administration tried to shut it down.

The documentary features archival footage of James Baldwin, Sidney Poitier, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Harry Belafonte, Nikki Giovanni, among others.

Following the screening, the film will be discussed by Ralph Proctor, Ph.D.

Dr. Proctor was born in the historic Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He is a veteran of the United States Army and an activist of the Civil Rights Movement. His Ph.D dissertation from the University of Pittsburgh explored “Racial Discrimination Against Black Teachers and Professionals in the Pittsburgh Public School System.” He was among the first Black producer/hosts of one of several local, Black-oriented television shows that first aired during the turbulent 1960s. The program was called “BLACK HORIZONS” and aired on WQED, Pittsburgh’s PBS station. He has also been the producer/host of other local television and radio programs in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Proctor has been a professor/lecturer at several local institutions of higher learning, including the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carlow University, Chatham University, LaRoche University, and Carnegie Mellon University. A former Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), he is now a professor of Ethnic and Diversity Studies at CCAC.


Registration is free. Please register online. You will be emailed information about how to join the screening and discussion virtually.

For more information, please contact Samuel W. Black, director of African American Programs at

The From Slavery to Freedom Film Series is presented by the History Center’s African American Program in partnership with the Frick Environmental Center of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The series is supported by Highmark and Allegheny Health Network.