‘American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers’ to premiere Friday on PBS as part of women’s suffrage centennial

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Timed with the 2020 presidential election and the women’s suffrage centennial, “American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers,” narrated by award-winning actor Julianna Margulies (“ER,” “The Good Wife,” “Billions”) and featuring the voice of Lorraine Toussaint (“Selma,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Glorias”), premieres nationwide at 9 p.m. Friday on PBS (check local listings) pbs.org/unladylike2020 and the PBS Video app.

As previously reported, the documentary is part of PBS’ summer celebration of women trailblazers.

The hour-long documentary focuses on political change, examining the ways women accomplished amazing milestones more than 100 years ago, overcoming incredible odds and great resistance, to map a national future of equality and to improve life for Americans, according to a news release.

It features the rich biographies of five little-known trailblazers, including some of the first women to hold elected office, and women who fought to ensure that citizens are treated equally and protected by the same rights. The lives of these unsung heroes are brought back to life through captivating original artwork and animation; rare archival imagery; and interviews with historians, descendants, and accomplished women and modern-day thought leaders, who reflect on the influence of these pioneers, and the status of suffrage and equality today.

A little more than a century ago, women in the United States did not have universal suffrage. From the 1890s to 1920s, the country experienced rapid industrialization, urbanization, technological innovation and reform that resulted in increased opportunities for women, including their participation in political institutions. It was also a time of resistance to change, defined by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, racial violence and Jim Crow, efforts to limit immigration from non-Anglo nations and campaigns to assimilate American Indians and immigrants. Overcoming unthinkable challenges, some women used their voices and power to become changemakers – running for elected office, organizing for civil rights, citizenship rights and anti-lynching campaigns, and fighting for the right to vote.

The women highlighted in “American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers” are Martha Hughes Cannon, the country’s first female state senator; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress; Mary Church Terrell, a leader in the anti-lynching movement and a founder of the NAACP; Jovita Idar, a journalist and president of the first Mexican American women’s civil rights organization; and Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, who lobbied for U.S. citizenship, voting rights, and sovereignty for American Indians a century ago.

“Unladylike2020” Executive Producer and series creator Charlotte Mangin describes the history featured in the special as timely and current.

“Our ‘Unladylike2020’ changemakers were critical to making the equality agenda part of the national fabric of this nation,” Mangin said in a statement.

The hour concludes with the perspectives of contemporary women thought leaders, who consider the lasting impact of these trailblazers’ accomplishments on our nation, and the work they began 100 years ago that is unfinished today. Interviewees include Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01), one of the first American Indian women in Congress; former Rep. Mia Love (UT-04), the first African American Republican woman in Congress; Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; and Brittany Packnett-Cunningham, member of the Ferguson Commission formed following the police shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri.

Executive Producer Sandra Rattley said in a statement that “Two of our heroines, Mary Church Terrell and Jovita Idar, took a stand against lynching. In 2020, Congress is still debating the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act after 120 years of trying to make lynching a federal crime. I have no doubt these unladylike women would be protesting for justice today.”

As previously reported, Mangin and Rattley directed, wrote and produced the special, which is based on the “Unladylike2020” multimedia series of 26 documentary shorts that launched in March on the “American Masters” YouTube channel and continues Wednesdays through Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day.

Major funding for “American Masters — Unladylike2020: The Changemakers” is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, HumanitiesDC, The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation, Humanities Montana, South Dakota Humanities, Utah Humanities, and Ohio Humanities.

Executive Producer for “American Masters” is Michael Kantor. Support for “American Masters” is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith and Burton Resnick, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

-BAM

 

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×
explore: | | | | |