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Celebrate Freedom Day with Award-Winning PBS Programs

Mia Laurenzo

Sunday WLRN celebrates Juneteeth with 12 hours of award winning PBS programs dedicated to commemorating this momentous day of independence for African Americans.

From the origins of slavery to The Black Lives Matter Movement, we take an in-depth look at the history of Black Americans and highlight those heroes who risked everything for freedom. From 11:30am to 11:30pm, we bring you the best PBS programs that commemorate freedom day.

11:30am MARIAN ANDERSON: ONCE IN A HUNDRED YEARS - Documentary
Trace the arc of Anderson’s life and her struggles against racism and poverty.

Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson, whose contralto singing voice of great range wowed international audiences, was a gifted African American woman who had to overcome endless obstacles before eventually achieving her dream.

"ONCE IN A HUNDRED YEARS" refers to the quote of the great conductor Arturo Toscanini who once told Marian Anderson: "A voice like yours is heard once in a hundred years." Marian Anderson's story continues to inspire people from very different backgrounds and her achievements in overcoming bigotry have secured her a place as a true pioneer internationally and in her hometown of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. We walk the streets where she lived; talk to the people who knew her, knew her family, and someone she babysat; see where she was educated and went to church; and marvel at how she was able to transcend humble beginnings to sing for tens of thousands of people, and for Presidents and queens on the world's stages.

1pm AFRICAN AMERICANS MANY RIVERS TO CROSS - Documentary

Presented and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., this six-hour series guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans.

This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.

The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross

1. (1500 – 1800) "The Black Atlantic" explores the global experiences that created the African-American people.

2. (1800-1860) "The Age of Slavery" illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution.

3. (1861-1896) "Into the Fire" examines the most tumultuous and consequential period in African-American history: the Civil War and the end of slavery, and Reconstruction's thrilling but brief "moment in the sun."

4. (1897-1940) "Making a Way Out of No Way" portrays the Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation.

5. (1940-1968) "Rise!" examines the long road to civil rights, when the deep contradictions in American society finally became unsustainable. African Americans who fought fascism in World War II came home to face the same old racial violence. But mass media - from print to radio and TV - broadcast that injustice, planting seeds of resistance.

6. (1968-2013) After 1968, African Americans set out to build a bright future on the foundation of the civil rights movement's victories, but a growing class disparity threatened to split the black community.

9pm SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME – Documentary
Slavery by Another Name explores new forms of de facto slavery after the Civil War.

Slavery by Another Name “resets” our national clock with a singular astonishing fact: Slavery in America didn’t end 150 years ago, with Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, the film illuminates how in the years following the Civil War, insidious new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, persisting until the onset of World War II.

Slavery By Another Name

11pm UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY – Documentary
William Still was a free black man from Philadelphia who helped fugitive slaves escape.

Underground Railroad: The Williams Still Story is the story of a humble Philadelphia clerk who risked his life shepherding runaway slaves to freedom in the tumultuous years leading up to America’s Civil War. William Still was the director of a complex network of abolitionists, sympathizers and safe houses that stretched from Philadelphia to what is now Southern Ontario.

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story

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