Civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr. has no national holiday bearing his name. You won’t find him in most history books. In fact, few today know his name, much less his accomplishments. But he was at the heart of the civil rights movement — an inside man who broke down the barriers that held back African Americans.
Independent Lens | Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights | Trailer | PBS
Young shook the right hands, made the right deals, and opened the doors of opportunity that had been locked tight through the centuries. Unique among black leaders, the one-time executive director of the National Urban League took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government. In the Oval Office, Young advised presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and guided each along a path toward historic change.
The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights follows Young as he shuttles between the streets of Harlem and the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, tying the needs of Main Street to the interests of Wall Street. The film shows the pivotal events of the civil rights era — Brown v Board of Education, the March on Washington, and the Vietnam War — through the eyes of a man striving to change the established powers in a way no one else could: from within.
Narrated by Alfre Woodard, The Powerbroker premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, February 18 at 10 PM ET on PBS (check local listings). The film is executive produced by Young’s niece, Emmy ® Award-winning journalist Bonnie Boswell and produced by Boswell, Christine Khalafian and Taylor Hamilton.