THE MARCH, narrated by Denzel Washington, premieres on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 8pm, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the original event. 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 Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte and Diahann Carroll. Additional interviewees include Roger Mudd, the CBS anchorman who reported from the March, Clayborne Carson, founding director of Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute and a participant in the March, and Oprah Winfrey, whose life was transformed by watching the March on television along with millions of other Americans. Also featured are the remembrances of 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.
“The story of people who suffered profound injustice in America and fought it with sacrifice and courage is something we should never forget,” said Executive Producer Robert Redford. “I hope the generations who see this film will be inspired by it.”
Deploying remarkable rare archival footage, THE MARCH recounts the dramatic events that took place not only in front of the cameras but behind the scenes, revealing how one of the most important events in the Civil Rights Movement almost didn’t happen, told by those who refused to back down and whose lives it forever changed.
“The March is the watershed moment of the Civil Rights Movement, the culmination of a hundred years of activism against segregation and social injustice for people of color in the U.S.,” said director John Akomfrah. “Re-telling this story is my small contribution to that monumental struggle.”
PBS Black Culture Connection will unveil The March @50, a new web series by filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman (More Than a Month) as part of the PBS celebration of the March on Washington Anniversary. With a new episode debuting each week for five weeks, The March @50 asks if America has delivered on the original demands of the marchers for jobs and freedom. Each episode will explore the March’s legacy through the lens of contemporary issues ranging from minority incarceration, disproportionate minority unemployment, the re-emergence of public school segregation and voting rights.
The 1963 March on Washington was created by community activists and dedicated people from every state in the country. Memories of the March, a series of video vignettes created by PBS member stations from across the nation, will also debut on PBS Black Culture Connection. Fascinating first-person stories of original participants who made the trek to the nation’s capital are included, as well as others who were instrumental in working for the cause in their communities.
Vignettes include interviews with several women, including Johnnie Turner, a Memphis college student when she attended the March and now a Tennessee State Representative; Dorothy Foreman Cotton, the highest-ranking woman in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during most of the 1960s; and Georgia Davis Powers, the grandniece of a slave who helped organize the 1964 March on Kentucky’s State Capitol, an event in which Dr. King also participated along with baseball great Jackie Robinson. Other interviewees include Sala Udin, a 20-year-old from Pittsburgh who heard Dr. King’s speech and changed the course of his life to launch a career in civil rights activism and North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, who attended the March and became known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases.