Public Television Stations Share Local March on Washington Stories

By Cait |

National March for Freedom "I Was There" Button
National March for Freedom "I Was There" Button

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Button
Source: National Museum of American History

This week, our nation honors the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a key event in the Civil Rights Movement that helped pass important civil rights legislation and a change in public opinion.

Public media has played a meaningful role in educating the public about this significant event, and has facilitated conversations about race and equality today. In “Public Media Honors the March on Washington,” I discussed public media’s national coverage of this landmark anniversary. In addition to public media’s national coverage, many public television stations are sharing local stories and hosting events to commemorate the March on Washington.

Public television stations are airing special programs about the local impact of the March on Washington. Detroit Public Television’s (Wixom, MI) American Black Journal, a historic television program that has been presenting issues and events from African-American perspectives since 1968, aired a special program about the anniversary. On the program, host Stephen Henderson interviews two Detroit women who took part in the 1963 event and Detroit high school students reflect on a civil rights tour they recently took through the South.

Many public television stations are also hosting free community events. For example, PBS39 (Fort Wayne, IN) partnered with the University of Saint Francis for a free community screening of PBS’s documentary, THE MARCH. PBS39 also joined University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne MLK Club and Fort Wayne Urban League to host “Sharing the Legacy” a remembrance of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech that featured footage of his speech in Fort Wayne and a photo exhibit of his visit.

Public television stations have documented the legacy of the March on Washington in their communities. Public television stations have created video clips featuring community members who were part of the Civil Rights Movement. The clips can be viewed on PBS and on stations’ homepages. Check out a submission from UNC-TV (Chapel Hill, NC) about residents of then-segregated New Bern, NC who participated in the March.

Public media stations honor events on a national and local scale. In addition to town halls, libraries and other community resources, public media stations are archiving local perspectives of key events in American history and sparking conversations about our past, our present, and our future. Check your local station’s listings and event calendar to see what they are doing to commemorate the March on Washington in your community.