Aug. 28 will be the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, the Aug. 28, 1963, gathering for human rights that saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, an event that proved to be a watershed moment in the American Civil Rights Movement.
Leading up to the March on Washington 50th anniversary, and on the day of the commemoration itself, various TV coverage will include documentaries about the original event, movies about Dr. King and other civil rights figures and events, and live coverage of this year’s commemoration, including President Obama’s planned speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28.
Here is some of the upcoming TV programming related to the March on Washington 50th anniversary. All times are ET. Not all networks have announced coverage yet, so check back for updates and additions:
MSNBC coverage of The March on Washington 50th anniversary – Aug. 23 and 24 on MSNBC. MSNBC’s special coverage of the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington begins with a two-hour edition of PoliticsNation called “March on Washington: The Dream Continues,” hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton, live from the National Mall 6-8pm on Aug. 23. Guests will include Rep. John Lewis, Martin Luther King III, Bernice King, Taylor Branch, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Edith Lee-Payne, Marc Morial and key union leaders and marchers both past and present. On Aug. 24, Rev. Sharpton and Martin Luther King III will lead the 50th Anniversary March on Washington from the National Mall, with MSNBC providing live coverage Aug. 24 beginning at 8am and continuing with Melissa Harris Perry at 10am, Disrupt With Karen Finney at 2pm and The Ed Show at 4pm, all live from Washington, D.C. MSNBC also says that throughout the weekend, anchors and correspondents will share their own reflections on the civil rights movement and how they or people from their communities are “Advancing the Dream.”
We Were There: The March on Washington – An Oral History – Aug. 23 at 10pm; Aug. 24 at 1am; Aug. 25 at 4am on CNN. CNN’s original production captures the first-hand accounts of people who played vital behind-the-scenes roles organizing the March on Washington, and others who witnessed the March. Among those interviewed are U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), then chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the only living member of the “Big Six” civil rights organizations; activist Rachelle Horowitz, who helped to recruit her friend, now-U.S.Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to become a March organizer; and artist and activist Harry Belafonte, who leveraged his celebrity to heighten awareness of the struggles and violence happening in the South, raised funds for civil rights actions and recruited other celebrities to participate in the March. CNN’s Don Lemon hosts.
50: The March & the Movement – Aug. 24 at 11am on BET and Centric. This live, two-hour special honors the trailblazers who orchestrated The March on Washington, featuring contributors reporting along the March route and featuring interviews from political figures and renowned civil rights activists. Ed Gordon anchors the coverage, which chronicles the March in a retrospective exploring its historical significance and the behind-the-scenes story of how it was organized.
Beyond the Dream: 50 Years Later – Aug. 24 at 5pm on FOX News Channel (FNC). Kelly Wright hosts this half-hour special that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The program will include a sit-down interview with Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King, and will examine race relations in the United States as well as the progress and challenges facing the African-American community. The special also features stories on Howard University students who are helping youth overcome gang violence, as well as stories on those working to improve the quality of education for African-American youth. Bishop T.D. Jakes will also be a guest on the special.
Meet the Press Special Edition: Remembering the Dream – Aug. 25 on NBC. NBC News will re-broadcast the Aug. 25, 1963, edition of Meet the Press, featuring an interview with Martin Luther King Jr. and NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins conducted just three days before the March on Washington. The interview will be aired unedited and in its entirety, and will air in most markets either immediately before or after the regularly scheduled broadcast of Meet the Press, which will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the March. Check listings for exact start times in your area.
Sing Your Song – Aug. 25 at 11am on TV One. This is the basic cable premiere of the acclaimed 2011 documentary that profiles singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte. The film charts Belafonte’s life as a rising black Hollywood star amid the social and political racism plaguing 1960s America, and his emergence as a figurehead of the civil rights movement.
In Performance at the White House: “A Celebration of Music From the Civil Rights Movement” – Aug. 27 at 8pm on PBS (check local listings). This repeat special from 2010 has President and Mrs. Obama hosting a concert in the East Room in honor of the civil rights movement.
The March – Aug. 27 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). Denzel Washington narrates this hourlong documentary that recalls the March on Washington 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 Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Roger Mudd, Peter Yarrow and Oprah Winfrey, in addition to historians, journalists, authors and ordinary citizens who joined some 250,000 Americans who thronged on the capital that day to demand an end to two centuries of discrimination and injustice.
The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights – Aug. 27 at 10pm on PBS (check local listings). First aired earlier this year, this Independent Lens film follows Whitney Young’s journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League in the 1960s.
ABC News coverage of 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech – Aug. 28 on ABC. ABC News will feature coverage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28 on its web sites and on television, including on Good Morning America (7am), World News With Diane Sawyer (6:30pm) and Nightline (12:35am). When President Obama speaks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, ABC News will simulcast a live special report to the ABC Television Network and to the Yahoo!-ABC News Network.
CBS News coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington – Aug. 28 on CBS. Scott Pelley leads CBS News coverage. Network coverage begins on CBS This Morning at 7am, with extensive reports on the anniversary, including a live report from Pelley in Washington, D.C. Pelley will anchor live coverage of President Obama’s remarks that afternoon, and then will anchor the CBS Evening News at 6:30pm with additional coverage of the anniversary.
NBC News coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington – Aug. 28 on NBC. Starting at 11am, NBCNews.com will live-stream the full Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action event taking place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. At approximately 2:40pm, coverage of President Obama’s remarks will be carried on the NBC broadcast network. At 6:30pm, Lester Holt will anchor NBC Nightly News from Washington with additional coverage of the anniversary and the day’s events.
King – Aug. 28 at 8am & 2pm on H2. This two-hour repeat documentary has Tom Brokaw bringing to life the story of Martin Luther King Jr. It relives King’s journey for civil rights starting form the moment he reluctantly joined the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. Interviews with Andrew Young, Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King III are included.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Historical Perspective – Aug. 28 at 11am on ASPiRE. This documentary uses rare and largely unseen film footage to examine Dr. King’s life and legacy.
C-SPAN coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington – Aug. 28 from 11am-4pm on C-SPAN. C-SPAN’s coverage of the Let Freedom Ring ceremony includes President Obama’s remarks, as well as remarks from former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, the King Family, Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young, the daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson as well as leaders from national and international organizations.
King: Man of Peace, Time of War – Aug. 28 at 12pm on ASPiRE. In addition to rare, archival footage, this documentary features exclusive interviews with such notables as the Rev. Jesse Jackson; retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell; legendary journalist Howard K. Smith, and commentary from Malcolm X, Congressman Charles Rangel, Quincy Jones, Hugh Hefner and Laurence Fishburne.
Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action Ceremony – Aug. 28 at 1pm on ASPiRE. Live coverage of the ceremony where President Obama is slated to speak, and will be joined at the Lincoln Memorial by former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and social activists. At 3pm ET, there will be a bell-ringing ceremony marking the time that Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
50: America Salutes the Dream – Aug. 28 at 2pm on BET and Centric. Live coverage of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington
CNBC Special Report – Aug. 28 at 2:35pm on CNBC. CNBC will carry President Obama’s speech on MLK today, with coverage beginning at approximately 2:35pm. Closing Bell will follow.
Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech replay – Aug. 28 at 4pm on MSNBC. Following the president’s remarks, which are expected at approximately 3pm ET, MSNBC will air Martin Luther King Jr.’s entire “I Have a Dream” speech. Later in the evening, at 8pm, the episode of All In will also feature the “I Have a Dream” speech, presented with limited commercial interruption.
MLK: The Assassination Tapes – Aug. 28 at 7pm on Smithsonian Channel. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final days are replayed chronologically, using only media resources from March and April of 1968 to give a firsthand account of his shocking assassination.
Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington: Courtesy of PBS and Getty Images