American Equality: Past, Present and Future
About This Collection
Ratified on February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment stated that citizens of the United States have the right to vote and "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Yet it wasn't until the peaceful-turned-violent protest in Selma, Alabama and the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965 that the barriers broke down, allowing African Americans to exercise their right.
In August, WORLD Channel honors the civil and human rights activists on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The over 20 films curated and presented focus on the people, well-known and not known, who attempted to vote and were turned away, who were attacked as they protested, and who lived and breathed the civil rights movement to make today's (and tomorrow's) freedoms possible.
Episodes In This Collection
American Experience: Freedom Riders
The powerful, harrowing and inspirational story that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives as they traveled together through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with racism and violence, testing their belief in nonviolent activism.
Independent Lens: Little White Lie
Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz grew up in a typical upper middle class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with a strong sense of her identity. But after her parents split apart, she begins to piece together the mystery of how a white girl could have such dark skin, and learns the truth about her biological father.
JFK & LBJ: A Time for Greatness
President Lyndon B. Johnson is chiefly remembered for the Vietnam War. But 50 years ago, he engineered two of the most important laws Congress ever passed, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. JFK & LBJ: A Time for Greatness examines how LBJ transformed America.
Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP
Incorporating rare archival film and extraordinary interviews, Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP explore Marshall's life in the years leading up to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)
The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people, and examines what that Era of Revolutions - American, French and Haitian - would mean for African Americans, and for slavery in America.
Independent Lens: American Denial
Follow the story of foreign researcher and Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal whose study, "An American Dilemma" (1944), provided a provocative inquiry into the dissonance between stated beliefs as a society and what is perpetuated and allowed in the name of those beliefs.
American Experience: Freedom Summer
Over 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.
P.O.V.: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American writer, activist and philosopher whose vision of revolution will surprise you. American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs is a journey into the power of ideas and the necessity of expansive, imaginative thinking, as well as ongoing dialectical conversation, to propel societal change.
The Education of Harvey Gantt
After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, South Carolina continued segregation in schools for eight more years. In January 1963, Harvey Gantt became the first African American accepted to a S.C. higher education institution but the story was soon forgotten. This film illustrates how a determined young man brought about permanent change.
Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi
Revealing the full scope of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission’s efforts to preserve segregation during the 1950s and ‘60s — when its network of informants spied on over 87,000 Americans — as it covered up violence and murder in order to preserve the status quo.
Independent Lens: The Powerbroker - Whitney Young and the Fight for Civil Rights
Follow the story of Whitney Young Jr. as he took the fight to the boardrooms of the largest corporations and to the Oval Office of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, navigating a society divided by war, race and poverty.
African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: The Age of Slavery (1800-1860)
The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution. For free black people in places like Philadelphia, these years were a time of tremendous opportunity. But for most African Americans, this era represented a new nadir.
Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance
In 1958, the Commonwealth of Virginia led other states in refusing the U.S. Supreme Court's mandate to integrate its public schools in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education. Shedding light on this dark moment, this film offers first-hand accounts from students who found themselves on the front lines of this desegregation battle.
Independent Lens: Through a Lens Darkly
The story of the pioneering African-American photographers — celebrated and anonymous — who have recorded the lives and aspirations of generations, from slavery to the present. Through a Lens Darkly probes the recesses of American history through images that have been suppressed, forgotten, and lost, bringing to light the hidden and unknown.
POV: Out in the Night
In 2006, a group of African-American lesbians were violently threatened by a man on the street. They fought back and were charged with gang assault and attempted murder. Out in the Night examines the sensational case and the women's uphill battle, revealing the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in our criminal justice system.
One Night In March
In 1963, a basketball game captured the national imagination and influenced a state - and sport - for years to come. This is the story behind an unwritten rule that fostered segregation and how a university president, basketball coach and players risked their safety and future by defying that rule, a governor and a legislature in 1963 Mississippi.
The story of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, told by the people who organized and participated in it. Includes interviews with such key players as inner circles of core organizational groups, civil rights campaigners, and ordinary people who became part of the crowd of thousands, who marched to D.C. by any and all means.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: Into The Fire (1861-1896)
Into the Fire examines the most tumultuous and consequential period in African American history: the Civil War and the end of slavery, and Reconstruction's thrilling but tragically brief "moment in the sun."
Black/White & Brown: Brown Versus the Board of Education of Topeka
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Black/White & Brown presents the stories of the individuals, events and circumstances that converged as the wheels of the legal system were set in motion after this momentous Supreme Court decision.
Hubert H. Humphrey: The Art of the Possible
For the last half of the 20th century, America was consumed by two struggles: the civil rights movement and the cold war. For 30 years, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey stood at the center of both. A fresh look at the great body of work of this remarkable American, the film explores his journey through the major events of the 20th century.
A Ripple of Hope
A retelling of the events of April 4, 1968, the day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated outside a Memphis hotel room. A Ripple of Hope narrates those events through the eyes of those who were there, and follows the steps of Robert Kennedy as he responds with courage and compassion.
1964: The Fight for a Right
By the mid-20th century, Mississippi’s African Americans had suffered from nearly 75 years of slavery by another name - Jim Crow discrimination. With historical footage and interviews with Freedom Summer architects and volunteers, 1964: The Fight for a Right uses Mississippi to explain American voting issues in the last 150 years.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: Making A Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)
Making a Way Out of No Way portrays the Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans migrated away from the South, fleeing racial violence and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West.
Instruments of Change
The inception of the Civil Rights movement is often credited to Montgomery, AL. However as early as 1951, there existed a Fine Arts Conservatory in Miami dedicated to bringing the arts to young black and white students in an integrated environment. Instruments of Change shows the power the performing arts has in bringing a community together.
American Experience: 1964
It was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. 1964 was the year when Americans faced choices: between liberalism or grassroots conservatism, support or opposition to the civil rights movement, an embrace of counterculture or defense of traditional values.
Bombs Away: LBJ, Goldwater and the 1964 Campaign That Changed It All
The 1964 presidential campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater reshaped the American political landscape. Bombs Away: LBJ, Goldwater and the 1964 Campaign That Changed It All examines Goldwater's and Johnson's political agendas for the Democrats and the Republicans, and how they ushered in a new era of the television attack ad.