WORLD Channel Celebrates JUNETEENTH With Films Featuring Harlem’s Cicely Tyson, Fannie Lou Hamer, And More

WORLD Channel, the multiplatform channel bringing diversity to public media.

Honors the Juneteenth holiday with a slate of documentaries and episodes that center the stories of Black people and American heroes of African descent, stories that mark the promise of the freed slaves.

Selections from its curated playlist by noted filmmakers including Stanley Nelson, Ken Burns, Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Sam Pollard and Yoruba Richen run all month on a variety of platforms, including WORLD Channel, WorldChannel.org, WORLD Channel’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page, PBS Passport and on the PBS app.  

Offerings include select films and episodes from WORLD Channel original series America ReFramed (with American Documentary (AmDoc)Local, USAAfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange (with Black Public Media) and Stories from the Stage, as well as the classic public television series American ExperienceAmerican MastersIndependent LensPOV and Reel South.

The nation’s newest federal holiday, Juneteenth (short for June Nineteenth) celebrates the end of slavery in America. It marks the day, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas, with the news that those enslaved were freed. 

“Juneteenth commemorates the watershed moment in American history, the freeing of the enslaved, while highlighting the fraught struggles to maintain and increase the freedoms that continue today,” said Chris Hastings, executive producer/managing editor of WORLD Channel at GBH in Boston. “Our curated offerings help viewers remember the past while envisioning the promise of the future.”

Viewers can explore Black history with six episodes of the renowned civil rights documentary series Eyes on the Prize and powerful documentaries on towering figures in Black history, including Fannie Lou Hamer (Fannie Lou Hamer’s America by Joy Davenport), Muhammad Ali (Muhammad Ali by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon) and Madam C.J. Walker (Two Dollars and a Dream by Nelson). 

Those who tune in will be transported to communities across America where descendants of slaves are both enjoying and continuing to fight for their freedom. The Falconerfollows an African American man building a bird sanctuary in the Maryland, Muni captures Black golfers in Asheville, North Carolina, and Professional Black Girl celebrates #blackgirlmagic and #blackexcellence in New Orleans. How It Feels to be Free—directed by Yoruba Richen and executive produced by Alicia Keys — explores the trailblazing Black woman entertainers Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier as they take on the entertainment industry and the racist tropes it perpetuates through their art and activism. 

The films take viewers into battles for voting rights (Metcalfe Park: Black Vote Rising) and efforts to combat police brutality in Chicago (Unapologetic), Kinloch and Ferguson, Missouri (Where the Pavement Ends) and Birmingham (Missing Magic). Stephenson and Brewster’s The Conversation Remix and Joua Lee Grande’s On All Frontsdelves into the aftermath of the racial reckoning of 2020. Always in Season, about the hanging death of Lennon Lacy, explores America’s legacy of lynching. Pollard’s Goin’ Back to T-Town depicts the destruction of the once thriving community of Greenwood in Tulsa, known as Black Wall Street, in a race massacre. An esteemed elder works to preserve the last remaining Georgia enclave of Geechee culture and their land in SapeloAnd the Growing Up Blackepisode of Stories from the Stage looks at storytellers sharing the challenges of stereotypes, experiencing racism and being young and Black in America.

In addition to the documentaries, viewers will have a chance to explore The History of White People in America, musical animated short films about how skin color has come to define race — and race power in America. 

For all available JUNETEENTH films, please visit the 19 Films to Watch to Celebrate Juneteenth streaming guide. Additional Race In America content is available to stream on the WORLD Channel websiteYouTube channel, PBS Passport and the PBS App

For more information, visit worldchannel.org. Audiences can also follow WORLD Channel at @worldchannel on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to learn more about their programming. 



WORLD Channel

WORLD shares the best of public media in news, documentaries and programming. WORLD’s original series examine the issues and amplify the voices of those often ignored by mainstream media.

The multicast 24/7 channel helps audiences understand conflicts, movements and cultures from around the globe. Its original work has won a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, a National News and Documentary Emmy Award, two Webby Awards, and many others honoring diversity of content and makers. WORLD is carried by 191 member stations in markets representing over 74% of US TV households.

Funding for WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and Artworks.

WORLD is produced by GBH in partnership with WNET and is distributed by American Public Television (APT). Find out more at WORLDChannel.org

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