Juneteenth non-fiction projects to watch for

As America commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States via Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, Realscreen is highlighting some of the non-fiction projects airing on assorted networks ...
June 18, 2021

As America commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States via Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, Realscreen is highlighting some of the non-fiction projects airing on assorted networks to mark this Juneteenth weekend.

A+E’s History is airing Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America, on June 19.

Executive produced and narrated by NBA legend and social justice advocate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Deborah Morales of Iconomy Multi-Media & Entertainment, the one-hour doc looks at the impact key movements throughout U.S. history have had in shaping the country’s society, laws and culture.

The project is anchored by sit-down interviews and narratives from Abdul-Jabbar’s personal experiences, coupled with anecdotes from noteworthy historians and authors, and supported with archival imagery and current footage. Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America explores the labor movement of the 1880s, women’s suffrage and civil rights, to the LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter movements.

Meanwhile, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer, directed by Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble) for National Geographic Documentary Films, will air on National Geographic tonight (June 18) and June 19 on Hulu. Porter follows Washington Post journalist and Tulsa native DeNeen Brown on the search for a mass grave resulting from the Tulsa Massacre — an event that, this year, has been chronicled by several filmmakers.

Elsewhere, NBCUniversal-owned streaming service Peacock is streaming Peacock Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rachel Boynton’s latest documentary, Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are).

Filmed through U.S. president Barack Obama’s final year in office through the present day, the documentary examines the ways in which slavery and the Civil War are taught in different parts of America, and how people across the country deal with some off the ugliest parts of their nation’s history.

Executive producers include Henry Louis Gate Jr., Sam Pollard, Steven Shainberg, Rick Rosenthal, Robert S. Kravitz and Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Brad Pitt of Plan B.

Those taking part in the Tribeca Film Festival this year can check out the fest’s Juneteenth programming, which includes Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, Ferguson Rises and They’re Trying to Kill Us (pictured), as well as the premiere of The One and Only Dick Gregory, which will air on Showtime on July 4.

Elsewhere, ViacomCBS-owned Smithsonian Channel is marking Juneteenth with original video essays, the CBS News docuseries Boiling Point and a block of curated programming.

The programming block runs tomorrow (June 19) from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Boiling Point is a six-part, immersive docuseries that reexamines America’s history of systemic racism and police brutality over the decades, encompassing firsthand stories and footage from the CBS News vaults.

Meanwhile, the series of original video essays feature both prominent and emerging writers, artists, activists, community leaders and teachers reflecting on Juneteenth and how this moment in American history resonates today.

Three of the video essays (Christopher Emdin, Jason Reynolds, Maimouna Youssef) will air on the Smithsonian Channel, with the rest being featured on the channel’s social platforms.

Elissa Rubin, Dane Joseph and James Blue serve as Smithsonian Channel executive producers.

(With files from Justin Anderson, Kim Izzo, Andrew Jeffrey, Jillian Morgan and Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.