On August 28, 1963, 250,000 activists came to Washington, D.C. to participate in the largest political rally for human rights in United States history, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event sought to expose the political, social and economic challenges African Americans continued to face nationwide. The March, which became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, concluded with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for racial and economic equality. The event trailed several years of nonviolent, grassroots demonstrations for civil rights, and prompted the passage of civil rights legislation and a massive shift in public opinion.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and public media stations nationwide are airing a series of programs and hosting online events and activities to honor this watershed event in civil rights history.
Public Radio Coverage
- Morning public radio listeners are probably enjoying NPR’s National Desk and the Code Switch team’s The Summer of ’63, a wide-ranging series exploring the events and individuals of the civil rights movement that includes a “here and now” look at the longstanding legacies of the historic struggle for racial freedom and equality. Twitter users can also check out the Code Switch team’s account @TodayIn1963, which captures events from the summer of 1963 as if they were happening today.
- Morning Edition listeners are also being transported back to the summer of 1963 with stories from individuals who took part in the March on Washington on Michele Norris’s The Race Card Project, which examines conversations and stories about race that are then condensed to one six-word sentence.
- Leading up to its 50th anniversary, NPR will continue provide coverage of stories and remembrances of the March on Washington on Weekend Edition and All Things Considered. NPR will also report live from the 50th anniversary event in Washington, D.C.
- Music and history buffs can relive the summer of ’63 in song with “The Mix: Songs Inspired By The Civil Rights Movement”, a 150-song stream hosted by Michele Norris, featuring songs that were part of or inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.
Public Television Coverage
- Public television’s coverage of the March on Washington will kick off on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS with THE MARCH, a new documentary about the dramatic events behind the event narrated by Denzel Washington.
- PBS Black Culture Connection will premiere The March @50, a new web series by filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman that investigates the March on Washington’s legacy through the lens of contemporary issues. A new episode will debut each week for five weeks beginning on Monday, August 26, 2013.
- Memories of the March, a series of first person accounts and short stories produced by local public media stations will also debut on PBS Black Culture Connection.
- On August 28, 2013 – the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington—PBS Black Culture Connection will provide viewers opportunities to interact with original Marchers and commentators through online chats and hosted discussions.
- Throughout the month of August, PBS NewsHour offers special reports about the March on Washington, and will be live-streaming 50th anniversary celebrations taking place in Washington, D.C.
- PBS will also present several encore broadcasts of Civil Rights Movement programming. Check your local listings here.
Public media commemorates uniquely American events. We hope you’ll tune into your local public media station to hear inspiring stories of faith, hardship and triumph in the face of adversity, and learn about an event that has shaped and continues to shape our nation today.