History revealed a promo for one-hour documentary Rise Up: The Movement that Changed America that takes a look at the key battles in the civil rights movement.
Executive produced by NBA star LeBron James and Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Riders), the film focuses on what it took to translate protests into real legislative change. It includes interviews with movers and shakers such as President Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Sen. Cory Booker, Harry Belafonte and others.
“Segregation was just a consistent act of humiliation,” Belafonte says in the trailer.
The special will premiere April 4, on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.
“I’m very excited to work on this film, as these visionary men and women literally changed the course of history,” said Nelson in a statement. “This film provides an intimate look at the strategy behind the boycotts, campaigns, and marches that came to define the movement.”
The documentary will follow the inner workings of the civil rights struggle that led to four legislative decisions:
- The Montgomery Campaign, which declared segregated public transportation was a violation of the 14th Amendment
- The Birmingham Campaign that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination
- The Selma Campaign that led to the Voting Rights of 1965, which aimed to overcome legal barriers that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote
- The Chicago Campaign, which led to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination over the sale, rental or financing of housing.
Rise Up: The Movement that Changed America is produced for History by Magilla Entertainment in association with SpringHill Entertainment and Firelight Media. James and Maverick Carter serve as executive producers for SpringHill Entertainment, and Nelson is executive producer for Firelight Media. Matthew Ostrom, Laura Palumbo Johnson and Jason Fox are executive producers for Magilla Entertainment. Kristen Burns is executive producer for History.
“We started Springhill to tell the stories we wanted in our community. It is an honor to partner with Stanley Nelson, who has been such an important voice and artist, on this documentary,” said James in a statement. “There are more and more great productions – both fiction and nonfiction – telling our story. I am really proud of the role Springhill is playing in this moment and appreciate History giving us this opportunity.”
The documentary also has a special relevance to politics today.
“We are currently witnessing a young generation rising up to make their voices heard, similar to the journey courageous leaders of the civil rights movement took to create change in America,” said Eli Lehrer, executive vice president of programming, History. “Through the powerful storytelling of LeBron and Stanley, this film will reflect on the past providing viewers with an intimate account of the campaigns that resulted in unprecedented legislation, and look toward the future as current activists and politicians continue the path toward change.”