The HISTORY® Channel honors Black History Month with the new one-hour documentary “Can’t Turn Us Around: Alabama’s Foot Soldiers” hosted by Theo E.J. Wilson, community activist and grandson of a Tuskegee Airman. Leaders of the civil rights movement and their stories are well known but this poignant documentary tells a different side of the revolution composed of those outside the spotlight – Black American citizens who put everything on the line to fight for their rights across crucial battleground cities in Alabama.
“Can’t Turn Us Around: Alabama’s Foot Soldiers” follows the organized movement fueled by Black Americans, known as “foot soldiers,” across the American south from roughly 1955 to 1965 as they aimed to rid America of segregation and guarantee equal civil rights. Alongside their Caucasian allies, the foot soldiers’ efforts culminated in a series of non-violent demonstrations, boycotts, and sit-ins throughout Alabama specifically making waves in Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma. Each protest was met with fierce and violent resistance by segregationists and police officials alike determined to maintain racial divide in the communities. Intertwined with powerful archival materials, the documentary revisits the peak of segregation and racial struggles at a time when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. emerges as a political and social leader, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a public bus to a Caucasian man and the Birmingham church bombing kills innocent children.
Viewers will hear the moving stories and personal details of these movements from the history-makers themselves. The documentary includes interviews with Charles Avery Jr., Janice Wesley Kelsey and Jessie Shepherd, each involved in the Children’s Crusade of 1963, as well as Sheyann Webb, the youngest participant in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery.
“Can’t Turn Us Around: Alabama’s Foot Soldiers” premieres Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm ET/PT on The HISTORY® Channel and streams the next day on The HISTORY® Channel App. In honor of Juneteenth, an extended version of the documentary will be available to stream beginning Friday, June 16 on HISTORY Vault®, the network’s subscription video service.