CNN, PBS to air special ‘March’ programs


Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, PBS and CNN will be broadcasting first-hand accounts of leaders, celebrities and ordinary people who gathered 250,000-strong to demand racial and economic equality for all people.

Facts

‘MARCH’ ON TV

* What: “We Were There” on CNN and “The March” on PBS, special TV programs.

* When: “We Were There,” 10 p.m., 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday; “The March,” 9 p.m. Tuesday.

* Where: “We Were There,” CNN; “The March,” PBS.

* Information: Visit PBS.org or CNN.com.

CNN will air "We Were There: The March On Washington — An Oral History," a documentary that will capture 21 first-hand accounts of ordinary people, celebrities and civil rights leaders who demonstrated in the 1963 march. It will air at 10 p.m., 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday on CNN, which is Cox channel 37 in Gainesville.

PBS will host a special week of programs and online events, including "The March," which will be narrated by actor Denzel Washingon and will feature remembrances by key players, celebrities and ordinary people who attended the march. It will air at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WUFT-TV, Cox channel 3 in Gainesville.

PBS also will air encore broadcasts of the following programs. They are: "A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement," which will be shown at 8 p.m. Tuesday; "The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights," which will air at 10 p.m., also Tuesday, and "James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket," set to air at 9 p.m. on Friday.

Also, the PBS Black Culture Connection website at PBS.org/black-culture will offer "The March@50," a five-part series that will look at whether America has delivered on the promises of the march and the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The website also will offer "Memories of the March," a series of video clips that explore additional first-person stories of participants in the march as well as others working for civil rights in their communities.

James Polk, senior producer of the CNN documentary, "We Were There," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who was then the chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, recounts details of a White House meeting that included African-American labor union president A. Philip Randolph, who was the leader of the march, President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

"We have their personal stories," Polk said. "I hope our audience will understand how bad it was in this country. We were a divided country."

Don Lemon of CNN, who will host "We Were There," said those who were interviewed reflected on their lives leading to the march, their experiences there and how it impacted their lives.

"I hope people who see it will get renewed respect and interest in the (civil rights) movement and honor what people went through," Lemon said. "It was a movement for civil rights for everyone. Sometimes, we take things for granted and this is a reminder for people who have become complacent about civil rights in this country and in their communities."

Jennifer Dargan, director of public relations at CNN, said the messages delivered at the 1963 march were important to all people. "It was universal in its message of injustice, not just for blacks, but for all people," Dargan said.

Laura Michalchyshyn, producer and founder with Robert Redford of Sundance Productions and one of the executive producers of the PBS documentary, "The March," said it includes rare footage of King seven months leading up to the march, as well as footage of the march and of 25 interviews that included people who were at the march and people who reflected on how they were impacted by the march.

She said there are more than 100 hours of footage, and the challenge has been editing it. She said the footage will be archived and available at PBS.org.

"(The marchers') activism and sacrifice and collective effort for the common good are as important today," Michalchyshyn said. "These people's complete belief and dedication for what is right will echo 100 years from now."

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