In 1960, a talented African-American student from Charleston, Harvey Gantt, graduated from high school and decided to become an architect. Clemson College was the only school in South Carolina that offered a degree in his chosen field. In January of 1963, with the help of NAACP lawyer Matthew J. Perry, Gantt won a lawsuit against Clemson and was peacefully admitted to the college, making him the first African-American student to attend a formerly all-white school in South Carolina.
From his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway, this program captures the legacy of the man some call America’s Shakespeare. Film and theater luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, Charles Dutton and others share their stories of the career and experience of bringing Wilson’s rich theatrical voice to the stage. This film tells of his journey to the Great White Way, the triumphs and struggles along the path to such seminal works as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson and others before his death in 2005.
Whitney M. Young Jr. was one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders of the civil rights era. This film follows his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, Young took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. He had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.
Investigate the reasons North Carolina, long seen as the most progressive state in the South, became home to the largest Klan organization in the country, with more members than all the other Southern states combined, during the 1960s.
This film traces the political activism behind an equal-rights statute in Miami, and how it galvanized the gay rights movement in Florida and beyond. Thirty five years ago, as snowflakes prepared to dust palm trees in a city known for its warmth, Miami-Dade County lawmakers unknowingly debated an issue that would ignite a political maelstrom. The seemingly benign ordinance — essentially an addendum to the county’s existing anti-discrimination legislation — sought to prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations or employment based on the basis of “affectional or sexual preference.”
On Jan. 18, 1977, a throng of conservatives led by singer and Florida Orange Juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant packed downtown commission chambers in protest. The commissioners ultimately passed the ordinance by a narrow 5-3 margin, but Bryant vowed to lead a repeal — and succeeded. The ordinance set back the gay-rights movement for decades; it took more than 20 years for Miami-Dade to revive and pass the law. The film also chronicles the tragic effects of the AIDS pandemic in South Florida, and the ironic, compassionate turn in public opinion towards the gay community.