WGBH News and Media Relations


August 20, 2013

Fifty Years Later: WGBH Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

89.7 WGBH will broadcast exclusive special program featuring only surviving public radio coverage from the March on Washington
BOSTON, Mass. (August 20, 2013) – Fifty years ago, more than 200,000 people converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and WGBH was there to broadcast from the March as part of the Educational Radio Network (ERN), a precursor to NPR. Today, WGBH has the only recording of the 15-hour Public Radio broadcast from the March. On August 28, the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights march, 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio will rebroadcast portions of the original ERN coverage.
The special radio broadcast is part of WGBH’s multi-platform remembrance of the iconic moment in the fight for civil rights airing across the Boston public broadcaster’s television and radio stations on August 27 and 28.
“WGBH is proud to have been a part of public radio’s original coverage of one of the most historic moments in American history. Later this month, WGBH Boston Public Radio will share that coverage and lasting impact of Dr. King’s dream with all of Boston,” said WGBH President and CEO Jon Abbott. “Our radio broadcast of the 1963 demonstration will serve as a tent pole of WGBH’s multi-platform programming celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.”
August 26: Callie Crossley comments on the March
Callie Crossley, an award-winning journalist and host of 89.7 WGBH’s Under the Radar, will share her thoughts on the spirit of the March on Washington in a special commentary for WGBH’s Morning Edition.
August 27: Three Hours of Civil Rights Programming on WGBH 2
WGBH’s celebration of the March on Washington kicks off during the evening of August 27 with a night of television programs focused on the American civil rights movement. The centerpiece of the special television programming is THE MARCH, a new documentary that reveals the dramatic story behind the event through the remembrances of key players including Jack O’Dell, Clarence B. Jones, Julian Bond and Andrew Young. The film includes testimonials and comments from noted Civil rights leaders and supporters and modern day thought leaders reflecting on the effect Dr. King and other pioneers of equality have had. Contributors include Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Roger Mudd, Peter Yarrow and Oprah Winfrey.THE MARCH premieres on Boston’s WGBH 2 Tuesday, August 27 at 9pm.
“Public media is better equipped to dig deep and tell the comprehensive stories of historic, memorable moments. THE MARCH will share new perspective on America’s civil rights movement and the gathering that pushed the movement forward,” said Liz Cheng, General Manager for WGBH Television. “WGBH is proud to share the stories of the men and women who fought for equality with our audience in Boston and across New England.”
Immediately prior to THE MARCH at 8pm, WGBH 2 will broadcast a special celebration of music from the Civil Rights era on IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE. At 10pm, a special INDEPENDENT LENS, ‘The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,’ will air on WGBH 2.
August 28: 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio Looks Back 50 Years
WGBH Boston Public Radio will dedicate an entire day to the March on August 28. Philip Martin will provide coverage during WGBH’s editions of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. WGBH’s midday Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will take calls from listeners and discuss the lasting impact of the historic march.
Following Boston Public Radio, Bob Seay and Callie Crossley will host WGBH’s special ERN broadcast from the 1963 March on Washington. The exclusive broadcast airs from 2pm to 3pm.
“The March on Washington transformed this country. We are going to put this pivotal moment into context by looking at what it meant and still means, and by explaining its enduring effect on our region and country,” said WGBH Radio General Manager Phil Redo. “As a news organization, we are so fortunate that WGBH has a deep and accessible archives. The material we uncover rounds out our reporting and adds another dimension to the stories we tell.”
The full archive of ERN’s coverage from the March is stored in the WGBH Media Library and Archive (MLA) is available on WGBH’s Open Vault website. The broadcast, which was directed by a young Susan Stamberg, is contained on a series of quarter inch audiotapes.
August 28: 99.5 WCRB Classical New England and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra Celebrate the Lasting Impact of Dr. King’s Legacy
WGBH’s focused coverage ends on an uplifting note with 99.5 WCRB Classical New England’s A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood, a live broadcast of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s August 28 concert from the Hatch Shell.
“We are excited to share this special performance,” said Benjamin K. Roe, Managing Director of Classical Services.“It offers powerful testimony to Dr. King’s stirring words and how they have been translated and amplified into music of transcendent power and beauty.The moving concert will be a fitting conclusion to 24 hours of multi-platform coverage of one of the most poignant moments from the Civil Rights era.”
Christopher Wilkins will lead the Landmarks Orchestra, One-City Choir, the New England Spiritual Ensemble and special guests, including Governor Deval Patrick, who will narrate two selections in a concert of uplifting words and inspirational music, including the broadcast premiere of Cry, the Beloved Country, Kurt Weill’s musical adaptation of Alan Paton’s groundbreaking novel about life in apartheid South Africa. WCRB Classical New England is a listener-supported radio service of WGBH.
August 30: The WORLD Channel Dedicates Friday Evening to Civil Rights.
The WORLD, a national multi-cast digital television network distributed by WGBH, will air a special night of Civil Rights programs on Friday, August 30. At 6pm, WORLD will rebroadcast ‘The Powerbroker.’ At 7pm, WORLD will air BUILDING THE DREAM, which recounts the journey of an idea for a national monument honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. At 8pm, WORLD will rebroadcast THE MARCH.
About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater BostonBasic Black, High School Quiz Show, and Neighborhood Kitchens. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB, Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.


WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke