WASHINGTON, D.C. — Voice of America is marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s celebrated I Have a Dream speech with a special 30-minute television broadcast that looks at the civil rights movement through the eyes of those who took part in the iconic 1963 March on Washington.
In addition to the Martin Luther King special, VOA will also provide live radio and TV coverage of President Barack Obama’s planned speech on Wednesday’s anniversary, and VOA language services are airing a series of reports focusing on key moments in the civil rights struggle.
The King Legacy, Marching Forward features interviews with many of the young activists who helped organize the watershed event, including Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
“This film lets those who lived through racial segregation and helped lead the struggle for voting rights and racial equality tell the story of the march in their own words,” says Executive Producer Jerry Brown. “It also acknowledges the connection between the U.S. civil rights movement and the struggle for human rights around the world,” Brown says.
The special, which is available on demand and broadcast around the world on VOA’s satellite streams, includes rarely seen archive footage of key moments in the civil rights struggle, including disturbing images of lynchings and police brutality.
Congressman Lewis, who narrates much of the TV program, describes growing up in the segregated South, meeting Dr. King as a teenager, and arriving to a “sea of humanity” in 1963 as hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters gathered to push for social justice.
A special webpage brings together interview highlights, a link to the full TV special, and the in-depth reports focusing on the civil rights movement, including the tactics of non-violence and the men and women who fought to overturn the laws that kept blacks and whites racially segregated.
VOA will also mark the 50th Anniversary of the August 28th March on Washington with a special two-hour edition of Straight Talk Africa, featuring host Shaka Ssali and his guests discussing the significance of the 1963 March and how it has impacted human rights in Africa and around the world. The program will include speeches by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and President Obama’s address. It airs from 1800 – 2000 UTC.