50th Anniversary of March on Washington to Air Live on Aspire

March on WashingtonATLANTA –  ASPiRE today announced it will carry the live broadcast of today’s national “The Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action Ceremony” (#MLKDream50) in Washington, D.C., marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.’s epic “I Have a Dream” speech. ASPiRE’s live broadcast will start at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 28. Prior to the ceremony, the network will air two acclaimed Groundbreaking Documentaries: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Historical Perspective (11 a.m.-Noon EDT) and King: Man of Peace, Time of War (Noon-1:00 p.m. EDT).

“The 1963 March on Washington with Dr. King marked a pivotal point in our history. People of all walks of life banned together in the struggle for human rights, and particularly the civil and economic rights of African Americans,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, ASPiRE’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The image of hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered on the National Mall to support equal rights is truly unforgettable and deeply woven into the fabric of who we are – both as a nation and as a network dedicated to showcasing the African American experience. Because so many people are not there to participate and witness this incredible event first hand, I am extremely proud to announce that our network, ASPiRE will share this important moment and commemoration with our viewers. I hope everyone tunes in because this is a MUST SEE!”

“Not many people know that the shape of the ‘A’ in our ASPiRE logo was in fact inspired by one distinctive image from the March on Washington where the crowd extends from the Lincoln Memorial, around the Reflecting Pool, and out to The Washington Monument,” said ASPiRE’s General Manager Paul Butler. “As a network, we are thrilled to bring live coverage of this important, historic national event to our viewers.”

According to reports, tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall this past Saturday, August 24 to kick off Let Freedom Ring commemorations. Political and civil rights leaders reflected on the legacy of racial progress over the last half-century and urged Americans to press forward in pursuit of King’s dream of equality. This Wednesday, August 28, President Obama is slated to speak and will be joined at the Lincoln Memorial by former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and other social activists. At 3:00 p.m. EDT, there will be a bell-ringing ceremony marking the time that Dr. King delivered his famous speech. This week’s events are co-sponsored by the National Park Service, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta and several of the groups that organized the 1963 march, including the NAACP and Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

“The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” on Wednesday, August 28, 1963 remains one of the largest political demonstrations for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial before an estimated 250,000 marchers 50 years ago, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech advocating racial harmony during the march. The march is widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

The documentary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Historical Perspective offers an extraordinary examination of Dr. King’s extraordinary life and legacy. Using rare and largely unseen film footage, speeches and photographs, writer/director Tom Friedman explores how Dr. King’s ideas, beliefs and methods evolved in the face of the rapidly changing climate of the Civil Rights Movement, and how he changed the nature of public discourse on race in America.

In addition to rare, archival footage, King: Man Of Peace In A Time Of War features exclusive interviews with such notables as the Rev. Jesse Jackson; retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell; legendary journalist Howard K. Smith, and commentary from Malcolm X, Congressman Charles Rangel, Quincy Jones, Hugh Hefner and ASPiRE’s Laurence Fishburne. Most remarkable is the ultra-rare appearance of Dr. King himself on a 1967 “Mike Douglas Show” speaking eloquently about civil rights, as he is peppered with pointed questions from host Douglas and fellow guest, singer Tony Martin. This documentary is a timely tribute to a man who stands as an inspiration and a living, breathing force for social change even now.

In addition to airing live coverage, ASPiRE will use digital and social media to further connect, engage and continue dynamic dialogue with the audience. For more information, please go to www.aspire.tv, Twitter on @tvaspire, and Facebook at facebook.com/aspireTV.