WHYY Programs Honor 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Preview WHYY-TV programs airing in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
WHYY-FM will carry special coverage from NPR on Wednesday, August 28 from 1 to 4 p.m.

In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, August 27 at 8 p.m. on WHYY-TV

President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert event in honor of Black History Month. Artists include Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Howard University Choir. Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah will serve as emcees. The evening will feature songs from the Civil Rights Movement performed by these top entertainers, as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings. “The songs of the Civil Rights Movement capture the spirit of that critical period so memorably. To honor these songs at the White House and in a broadcast during Black History Month is a testament to that historic period in the American story, one that continues to change our lives,” commented Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming consortium.

The March

Tuesday, August 27 at 9 p.m. on WHYY-TV

The film reveals the dramatic story behind the event through the remembrances of key players such as Jack O’Dell, Clarence B. Jones, Julian Bond and Andrew Young. Supporters and other testimonials of the March include Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Roger Mudd, Peter Yarrow and Oprah Winfrey in addition to historians, journalists, authors and ordinary citizens who joined some 250,000 Americans who thronged to the capital on that momentous day to peacefully demand an end to two centuries of discrimination and injustice.

Independent Lens — The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights

Tuesday, August 27 at 10 p.m. on WHYY-TV

Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated – and controversial – leaders of the civil rights era. The Powerbroker follows his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, he took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. Young had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders, and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.

Building the Dream

Wednesday, August 28 at 10 p.m. on WHYY-TV

Building the Dream recounts the journey of an idea for a national monument honoring Martin Luther King Jr. – from a group of friends talking around a kitchen table to the creation of this permanent symbol – to ensure King’s Dream will remain alive for future generations.


American Masters — James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Friday, August 23 at 9 p.m. on WHYY-TV

The life, works and beliefs of the late writer and civil rights activist are recounted: what it is to be born black, impoverished, gifted, and gay in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” James Baldwin tells his own story in this emotional portrait. Using rarely-seen archival footage from nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with cinéma vérité glimpses of Baldwin and original scenes from his extraordinary funeral service in December 1987. His close friends and colleagues — even critics — illuminate the narrative, among them writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and William Styron, plus entertainer Bobby Short. Originally broadcast August 1989, AMERICAN MASTERS presents this special encore broadcast 25 years after Baldwin’s death and 50 years after the historic March on Washington and publication of his bestselling essay The Fire Next Time. 90 minutes. Watch a preview below: