CBS Event Marks Civil Rights Anniversary
A CBS News event Thursday marking the 50th anniversary of civil rights legislation is both a look back at history and a glimpse into future business opportunities for a broadcast news division.
The live program, "CBS News: 50 Years Later, Civil Rights," moderated by Bob Schieffer features civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, actress Whoopi Goldberg and others. It will be shown at 8 p.m. EDT on the Smithsonian Channel and CBSNews.com, with Microsoft adding an interactive element allowing viewers to express opinions.
"I don't think I've ever felt as honored to be part of something as I am with this," said chief Washington correspondent Schieffer, who's bringing his twin 13-year-old granddaughters to New York's Ed Sullivan Theater to watch.
Schieffer will host a discussion with relatives of Freedom Riders killed in the South, hear Lewis' accounting of demonstrations and look at civil rights battles of today with a panel that includes Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player.
Online, viewers can see testimonials from public figures about what the civil rights battle meant to them and watch footage of CBS News coverage from the time, including a Walter Cronkite-anchored special about the disappearance of three civil rights activists in Mississippi.
Schieffer, along with Bill Plante, is one of the few remaining CBS News figures with experience covering the issue. He remembers as "the most terrifying night of my life" reporting on the enrollment of the first black student at the University of Mississippi, being in a crowd as snipers were shooting nearby.