In 1965 a sheriff’s posse on horseback trampled peaceful protesters seeking voting rights for black citizens. The following day the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to the assembled news media:

“We are here to say to the white men that no longer will we let them use clubs on us in the dark corners. We’re going to make them do it in the glaring light of television.” Dr. King’s words give context to how television has served as the vehicle that not only highlighted the crucial moments of the civil rights movement, but also African-American achievements across all creative endeavors.

The Paley Center for Media will celebrate these historic moments in AfricanAmerican Achievements in Television: A Black History Month Spotlight Presented by Citi.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1968, this month long celebration will take place at the Paley Center’s locations in New York City and Beverly Hills and will feature an interactive exhibit, family craft activities, education classes, and screenings that take visitors on a nostalgic journey through the most significant African-American moments in television. The activities are free and open to the public. Paley Center Members will have the opportunity to attend a private breakfast reception and exclusive screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, Harlem School, hosted by the producer Phil Gries. Gries also shot the footage featured in the documentary while he was a student in Harlem in the 1970s. To take advantage of this and the many other benefits of Paley Membership please visit

“It is a privilege for the Paley Center to honor the groundbreaking artists and intrepid activists whose crucial actions helped advance the Civil Rights Movement,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President & CEO. “We’re thrilled to have the generous support of Citi in helping us bring this important Black History Month Celebration to the Paley Center.”

Citi joins as Presenting Sponsor of the Paley Center’s Black History Month Celebration. “We are honored at Citi to support such an important series of activities that sheds light on the influential role that television has played in the Civil Rights Movement,” said Will Howle, President of U.S. Retail Banking at Citi. “We’re excited to celebrate a program that highlights African-American achievements throughout this journey.”

Upon entry to the exhibit visitors can watch expertly curated compilations featuring the television work of AfricanAmerican actors, writers, producers, journalists, athletes, and musicians who had a powerful impact on American society and culture including luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson. There will also be a fun, interactive display where visitors will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of these historic moments through an exciting trivia challenge. The display also includes a section dedicated to 1968, delineating key events of that year pertaining to the civil rights struggle, each illustrated with a dynamic video. A special section of the exhibit is devoted to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. highlighting his legacy and key moments from 1968. And rounding out the experience, visitors will be able to contribute in creating the Paley Center collage honoring Black History Month by sharing their personal thoughts on the moments they find the most influential, inspiring individuals and their favorite television shows and stars.

Additionally a space will be devoted to a hands-on activity, where kids and families can create their own “Knowledge Trading Cards” and “Hero Cards,” to give recognition and credit to an unsung hero they’d like to see honored during Black History Month. The Paley Center’s Education department will offer middle and high school groups two workshops during February including: The Civil Rights Movement & Television and Media and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

During each weekend in February visitors can enjoy screenings of significant moments and programs highlighting the achievements of African-Americans in television across multiple genres. These programs are selected from the renowned African-American collection within the Paley Center’s rich archives. Screenings will also include a Scandal marathon; a screening of the documentary Harlem School; a preview of the new special The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X from the Smithsonian Channel; and two curated screenings series for families including superhero themed series geared toward children and tweens including episodes of Teen Titans, Justice League, and Static Shock; and a series for teens featuring episodes of Black-ish, Everybody Hates Chris, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Moesha, That’s So Raven, I’ll Fly Away, MTV BioRythm, The Real World, Soul Train, True Life, and Video Music Box.

Completing the celebration the Paley Center has selected three distinct PaleyLive programs. In Beverly Hills on February 13, the Paley Center will present They Run the Show. Lee Daniels, Executive Producer, Empire and Star; Yvette Lee Bowser, Executive Producer, Dear White People; Janine Sherman Barrois, Executive Producer, Claws, Cheo Hodari Coker, Creator, Executive Producer, and Showrunner, Luke Cage; and Prentice Penny, Executive Producer and Showrunner, Insecure, will discuss the current state of the entertainment industry.

In New York on February 27, the Paley Center will present BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede: Anatomy of a Female-Driven Late Night Talk Show. Thede, is a fearless comedian, actor, and writer, a true trailblazer, is the first African American to serve as head writer for the 2016 White House Correspondents’ dinner, as well as being the head writer and regular performer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Now Thede is the only woman of color currently hosting a late night talk show, The Rundown with Robin Thede, featuring biting, satiric commentary on our crazy political and pop culture worlds. Thede and her team of producers and writers will discuss how they create their own unique, inyour-face take on today’s headlines. An episode from her acclaimed series will be screened and questions will be welcomed form the audience.

Also in New York on February 28, the Paley Center presents Lester Holt: Anchoring Network News in the Digital Age.

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, recipient of the 2016 NABJ Journalist of the Year award, builds on the work of anchors like Max Robinson, Carole Simpson, and Bernard Shaw as the first African American to solo anchor a weeknight network evening news broadcast. As NBC celebrates the 70thanniversary of its nightly news program, Holt reflects on NBC’s distinguished past and looks forward to the future of broadcast journalism. He will also discuss his career as reporter and anchor, as well as the process of producing a nightly news shows in the digital age. The evening also features highlights from Holt’s television journalism and questions from the audience.

African-American Achievements in Television: A Black History Spotlight Presented by Citi will run February 1-28, 2018 at the Paley Center’s locations in New York and Beverly Hills.


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