What to watch on Juneteenth, from docs to ‘Black Panther’

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved. Historically the day, now a federal holiday, commemorates the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas — the last Southern holdout state — on June 19, 1865. 

Whether you want to learn more about historical events or acknowledge the day with other programming that’s thematically connected, there’s plenty to watch. Here’s a rundown of the essential viewing this weekend.

“Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are)” Peacock

Now streaming, this documentary is executive produced by Brad Pitt and Henry Louis Gates Jr., and it covers the variety of ways that America tells the story of the Civil War. 

“Juneteenth: Together We Triumph — A ‘Soul of a Nation’ Special Event,” (9 p.m. Friday on ABC; streaming Saturday on Hulu)

Hosted by “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., this special will include performances from Jimmie Allen, Chloe Bailey and Leon Bridges. “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan will also interview former President Barack Obama about the topic of race and his book “A Promised Land.”

“Selma” (CBS, 8 p.m. on Sunday) 

Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated 2014 film about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and the 1965 Selma to Mongtomery voting rights marches makes its debut on broadcast TV this weekend. 

“Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” (Comedy Central, 8 p.m. on Saturday)

The comedian’s 2019 special repeats and features him teaching his daughter about black history and trailblazers such as Robert Smalls and Josephine Baker. 

“Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer” (National Geographic, 9 p.m. on Friday; Hulu on Saturday)

A National Geographic documentary examining the 1921 Tulsa Massacre 100 years later — an event that led to the murder of hundreds of African Americans in Oklahoma and left thousands displaced. In the film, Washington Post journalist DeNeen Brown digs into the history and contextualizes it with analysis of current events. 

“Miss Juneteenth,” (BET Her, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday)

This 2020 movie centers on Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie, “Sleepy Hollow”), a struggling single mom who thinks that her most noteworthy accomplishment was being crowned “Miss Juneteenth” in her heyday. She wants her own teenage daughter, Kai (Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) to follow in her footsteps, despite Kai’s lack of enthusiasm. 

Turquoise (Nicole Beharie), left, and Ronnie (Kendrick Sampson), right, in "Miss Juneteenth."
Turquoise (Nicole Beharie), left, and Ronnie (Kendrick Sampson), right, in “Miss Juneteenth.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

“Slavery By Another Name,” (PBS, 8 p.m on Saturday) 

Narrated by Laurence Fishburne, this re-airing of a 2012 documentary is about the history of African Americans immediately following the Emancipation Proclamation and the often forgotten forced-labor practices that continued thereafter. 

“Black Panther,” (TBS, 5 p.m. on Saturday)

Although the seminal 2018 superhero movie starring the late Chadwick Boseman is not directly about American history, TBS is airing it as part of their Juneteenth programming, since the film is culturally significant as Marvel’s first major black superhero movie. 

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther in "Black Panther."
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther in “Black Panther.”
©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Evere

“Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America,” (History, 8 p.m on Saturday)

Narrated by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, this documentary examines various protest movements through history, including the labor movements of the 1880s, civil rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar narrates a new history documentary for Juneteenth.
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

“Blackkklansman,” (FX, 1 p.m. on Saturday)

FX is having a movie marathon on Saturday focusing on both present and past African American history, including “The Hate U Give” (10 a.m.), “Hidden Figures (7 p.m.) and Spike Lee’s “Blackkklansman.” Based on a true story, the film follows Detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African American in the 1970s Colorado Springs police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. 

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