DCW50, Washington’s CW, is once again proud to be the market leader in commemorating Black History Month in February 2019.  The station’s award-winning coverage will include original locally-produced programming;  re-broadcasts of past half-hour Washington, DC-based documentaries;  community outreach and informational access on the station’s digital platforms;  custom public service announcements (broadcast throughout each day);  syndicated specials, and more.  In February 2019, DCW50 will specifically focus on historic locations in the Washington, DC area and across the nation which very well can be “In Your Own Backyard.”

WDCW-TV’s “Living Black History” is sponsored by:

WDCW-TV’s “Living Black History” Awards

Each year, DCW50 adds to its award-winning library of locally produced documentaries.  Listed below are the programs featured each February during Black History month. These specials have been nominated for multiple awards over the years.  The “Living Black History” series  is the recipient of the following awards:

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS

  • 2018 Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “North Star to Freedom”
  • 2017  Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “Jim Crow:  Freedoms Deferred”
  • 2013 Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “The Dream Began Here”
  • 2011 Outstanding Public Service Special / Large Market “Howard Theatre:  A Century in Song”

MID-ATLANTIC / CHESAPEAKE REGIONAL EMMY AWARDS

  • 2018 Emmy Award “Outstanding Cultural & Historical Special” North Star to Freedom
  • 2013 Emmy Award “Outstanding Cultural & Historical Special” The Dream Began Here

GRACIE AWARD / NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN IN MEDIA

  • 2011   Broadcast Excellence Award / Public Affairs.  Hattie’s Lost Legacy

A Museum for the Ages.  DCW50 chronicles the history of a museum that has made history.  DCW50’s “Living Black History” examines why and how the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) came to be.  Doors opened to the critically-acclaimed museum in the fall of 2016.  The original expectation and hope for daily attendance was 3,000.  More than a year later, the daily attendance exceeds 8,000.  DCW50’s “Living Black History” special looks back at the early attempts to create a museum of African American History.  Guests include Founding Director Lonnie Bunch, who shares the challenges he encountered in creating this enormously popular Washington, DC attraction.  The show also explores some behind-the-scenes stories including how a historic “Jim Crow” train car was lowered into the museum at the very beginning of construction.

It was the best-kept secret in 19th century America – and it was called the Underground Railroad. An ad hoc network of volunteers provided various pipelines for African American slaves to escape their bondage. NORTH STAR TO FREEDOM looks at popular culture’s treatment of this distinctly American phenomenon with excerpts from the popular Tribune series UNDERGROUND and interviews with its principal actors and originator, John Legend. We also discover families whose lives were forever changed by their work on the Railroad, the Stills of Philadelphia and the Hubbards of Ashtabula, Ohio, who combined saved literally thousands of black lives. And we live the legend as we explore some of the original trails of the Underground Railroad in the shadows of a Maryland plantation.

2013 Regional Emmy Winner!  From the first African Americans to pioneer the Civil Rights Movement, to our first African American President, The Dream Began Here explores the evolving roles African Americans had within the White House, the city of Washington, D.C., and our surrounding areas. The Dream Began Here highlights the major contributions of African Americans in the early days of building our nation’s capital.

Despite the Civil War victory that granted slaves their freedom, Jim Crow laws helped maintain a segregated society and severely limited opportunities for Blacks. Some might be surprised that Jim Crow rulings impacted our contemporary times in many ways. "Freedom Deferred" chronicles the evolution of Jim Crow laws and profiles some people who were impacted by these rulings.

We live in the midst of history every day, but ROADS TO FREEDOM revealed some historic sites in our area that you may never have heard of, let alone visited. ROADS TO FREEDOM took us down the local highways and byways that forever changed the history of all Americans.  From Harpers Ferry where John Brown stuck a dagger in the heart of slavery with his failed revolution to the battlefields of Petersburg, Virginia where the U.S. Colored Troops endured a nine-month siege that secured the Union Victory, ROADS TO FREEDOM examines the rich history of our local communities.  Along the way, ROADS TO FREEDOM profiles several local former plantations, one in Bethesda (right off Old Georgetown Road) where the original Uncle Tom’s Cabin once stood.  The other plantation, in Fairfax, features tales of courage and examples of the endurance of the slaves who kept the plantation running. This program also examines the chaotic life in Washington during the Civil War and key events that could have changed the outcome and American history forever. We visited one of the 68 forts that once formed a protective ring around our capital city and saw the spot where President Lincoln was nearly shot and killed by a Confederate sniper.

Hattie’s Lost Legacy traced the career of the first African American Oscar-winner Hattie McDaniel (best supporting actress, 1939, “Gone with the Wind”) and the many challenges she encountered along the way. Upon her death in 1952, she left her historic Oscar to Howard University as a “beacon of hope and inspiration” to Howard University in Washington, DC.  In the late 1960’s, amongst political upheaval in the nation’s capital, the Oscar was lost, misplaced, stolen or possibly thrown in the Potomac River.  Hattie’s Lost Legacy traced McDaniel’s storied career, her Oscar win, and the eventual disappearance of her Academy Award. Guests included 2010 Oscar winner Mo’Nique and Los Angeles Times film historian and critic Tom O’Neil.  This program was nominated for a regional Emmy Award and won the national Alliance for Women in Media Award (Gracie Award) for Outstanding Public Affairs special.

For nearly 250 years, US History has provided us with countless stories of great achievements involving courage, strength, and leadership. Yet sometimes we forget just how extensive and diverse these stories can be. WDCW-TV's 2015 "Living Black History" special, Founding Mothers,   will profile several African American women from the Washington, DC area, who over the last two centuries, have forged new rights and freedoms for their children, grandchildren, and generations beyond their respective lifetimes.  Most may not be household names, but they sure made a difference in the lives of all Americans. These women include:  Mary Church Terrell, Elizabeth Proctor Thomas, Hattie Sewell, Harriet Tubman, and Mary McLeod Bethune.   Tubman, born in Dorchester County, Maryland was an abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the Civil War.  Born into slavery in 1822, Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.  Terrell was one of the first African American women to earn a college degree,  She helped found the National Association of Colored Women at the beginning of the 20th century and served as its first president.  In 1950, the age of 87, Terrell organized protests to end segregation at Washington, DC lunch counters.

Today her historic home lies in disrepair in DC's LeDroit Park.  Thomas, a free black woman, owned a farm outside the capital.  But in 1861, when the Union needed to expand Fort Stevens to defend the city, the Army took over her land.  According to legend, she was personally asked to sacrifice her farm by Abraham Lincoln himself.   In the 1920's, Sewell obtained a license to run the Pierce Mill Tea-house in Rock Creek Park, which eventually was operated with great success.  A nearby neighbor, however, protested to park management, fearing the restaurant would become a "rendezvous for colored people."  Founding Mothers traces the story of what became of the tea-house.  Finally, Mary Bethune was a pioneer of education for black children.  She served in President Franklin Roosevelt's unofficial Black Cabinet.  She advised Roosevelt on issues of importance to blacks and helped him reach out to a community that had historically been Republican.  Her home in DC is a National Historic site operated by the US Park Service.

Howard Theatre: A Century in Song is a locally produced special chronicling the rich history of Washington, DC’s famed Howard Theatre. It launched the careers of legendary musical artists, Duke Ellington, BB King, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack and many others. Featured are local historians, entertainers and vintage footage and photographs of the historic landmark. The theatre, closed for nearly 35 years and in a state of decline, was in the midst of a major renovation when this special was originally broadcast five years ago. Howard Theatre: A Century in Song looked ahead as the theatre underwent restoration.  Hosted by DCW50’s Robin Hamilton, Howard Theatre:  A Century in Song was awarded the prestigious “Salute to Excellence Award” by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2011, and was a featured presentation at the Congressional Black Caucus meetings.  This program was also nominated for a regional Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Documentary.

Visit the Howard Theatre's website. CLICK HERE

Hosting WDCW-TV’s “Living Black History" Campaign

Robin Hamilton is an Emmy-award winning journalist, filmmaker, and writer. Based in Washington, DC, Robin has hosted DCW50-TV’s award-winning Black History month series since it began in 2010. As host, the series has won 2 Emmy awards, 4 Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, and one Gracie Award.

In 2012, she founded the ARound Robin Production Company, which creates videos and films for fundraising, marketing and messaging initiatives in the non-profit sector. She wrote, produced and directed her first film, This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, about famed Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.  It was released in 2015.   Dignity and Defiance: A Portrait of Mary Church Terrell is her second film and was completed in 2017.

She received two master’s degrees, one from New York University, with a concentration in broadcast journalism, and a second in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, with a focus on policy and media.

The #HistoryisCountyingOnMe campaign features four vignettes:  Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, The Little Birmingham Girls, and The Lunch Counter.  These history makers did not know the adversities they faced years ago would change the lives of so many.  Today, young people have rights to a fair education, the opportunity to play before an audience of thousands, fellowship in their desired place of worship, and have the right to be served a meal in the comfort of a public diner.

These young people’s lives are forever changed and so they pay homage.  History was counting on Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, the Little Girls of Birmingham and those who sat at the Lunch Counter – and so, it’s time for the next generation of young people to live out their lives with the freedoms, bravery, and responsibility of our current generation of history makers taking the helm…#HistoryisCountingOnMe!