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Arts & Culture

The March

Mall crowds, The March on Washington, 1963
Courtesy of NARA/Smoking Dogs Films
Mall crowds, The March on Washington, 1963

Airs Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

PBS, Sundance Productions, Smoking Dogs Films, and Cactus Three present "The March," a new documentary honoring the 50th anniversary of the original March on Washington, a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Unprecedented in size, the August 28, 1963 massive demonstration for racial and economic equality issued a clarion call for racial justice that would help usher in sweeping civil rights legislation and a sea change in public opinion.

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Live Discussion

Join PBS for a LIVE CHAT about the broadcast premiere of "The March" on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 6 p.m. (PT or 9 p.m. ET).

Memories of The March

Memories of The March is an online collection of local stories and memories about the March on Washington, highlighting first-person accounts from across the country.

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The event, which will forever be remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech, endures today as a symbol of unity and monumental impact.

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Produced by Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, "The March" is directed by John Akomfrah, with Krysanne Katsoolis, Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn as executive producers. Sam Pollard is consulting producer, with Gina Belafonte as associate producer. "The March," narrated by Denzel Washington, premieres on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 on PBS.

"The March" 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.

“Viewers turn to PBS to provide great programs that explore our nation’s history,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “The 50th anniversary of this major milestone provides the perfect opportunity to examine the legacy of the original March.”

“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.”

Edith Lee-Payne Discovers She’s the Girl in a Famous Photo

"Detroiter Edith Lee-Payne attended the March on Washington with her mother on her 12th birthday. Although Edith doesn’t recall having her photo taken at the event

Delores Morgan Brule

"Delores Morgan Brule recalls her family fearing for her safety at the March on Washington. “They were not very happy.” Brule

A Defining Moment for Pittsburgh Activist Sala Udin

"As a 20-year-old

Joan Nelson

"Joan Nelson found the path to her own personal freedom at the age of 14. Her entire family was made up of civil rights activists and they have all been arrested for participating in non-violent sit ins and demonstrations. “I am a Soldier” she says

Johnnie Turner

"State Rep. Johnnie R. Turner has been serving in the 108th TN Gen Assembly representing House Distr 85 since 2010. She is a retired educator & Exec Dir on leave of the Memphis Branch NAACP. She is the House Democratic Floor Leader and has been a member of the TN Black Caucus of State Legislators. She serves on the Board of Directors of the NAACP TN State Conference

Philip Hallen meets the New America at The March

"A long-time professional in the Pittsburgh foundation community

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