Six key moments in Black history – from the tragedy of the Emmet Till lynching to the triumph (shown here) of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech – all happened on the same date.
That was Aug. 28, which was dramatized in a short film by Oscar-nominee Ava DuVernay. Now that will be the centerpiece of an Oprah Winfrey Network special on – appropriately – Friday, Aug. 28.
“OWN Spotlight: Culture Connection & August 28th, Ava DuVernay & Rev. Sharpton” will air at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. that day. It will also be on OWN YouTube page, starting at 2 p.m. ET.
Winfrey will have separate talks with the Rev. Al Sharpton and with DuVernay, whose 22-minute film (“August 28: A Day in the Life of a People”) will air in the special.
DuVernay is best-known for her scripted films (“Selma,” “When They See Us,” “Queen Sugar”), but she received an Academy Award nomination and an Emmy for the documentary “13th.”
She combined the two forms in 2016 for the short, which points to Aug. 28 as a day of:
– Tragedy. In 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi, one of the incendiary events in the civil-rights movement. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, shattering Black neighborhoods.
– Triumph. In 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act banned slavery throughout the British Empire. In 1963, Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the massive March on Washington. In 2008, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, en route to being the first Black president.
– And pop culture.In 1961, the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman” had its first airplay. It would go on to be the first No. 1 single by what became Motown records.
DuVernay’s film tells those stories through a combination of documentary and narrtative. Includes Angela Bassett, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong;o, Regina King, Glynn Durman and more.