50 Anniversary of Civil Rights Movement

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First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Civil Rights Leader Whitney Young

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first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a veterans employment event in the East Room
Michelle Obama
Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks today at a screening of The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights.
 
The documentary, narrated by actress Alfre Woodard, chronicles Whitney Young’s fight for civil rights during the 1960s as he made his journey from segregated Kentucky to the leader of the National Urban League. Young was unique among black leaders at the time because he took the civil rights fight directly to the powerful white elite — his allies included three presidents. As a result he is seen as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in the civil rights era.

“Martin was in the streets, Thurgood was in the courts, and Whitney was in the boardroom. One could have not been successful without the other,” says former CEO of the National Urban League Vernon Jordan in the film. (Watch the trailer here.)
 
The First Lady’s tie to Young’s legacy goes back to high school — she graduated from Chicago’s Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 1981.    
 
The documentary was written and produced by Young’s niece and Emmy Award-winning journalist Bonnie Boswell. She will introduce the First Lady at the screening, which will take place at 4 p.m. at the White House. Attendees will include young students from the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas.
 
Watch the event live today at 4:00PM (EST) at whitehouse.gov/live

PHOTO GALLERY: Iconic Women from the Civil Rights Movement

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  • Julia Aaron & David Dennis
  • Myrlie Evers
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