If kids aren’t learning their history in school, those behind the new Hallmark movie The Watsons Go to Birmingham intend to bring it to them on screen.

Set during the Civil Rights Movement of 1963 and premiering around the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing September 20, the television special fictionalizes a day of infamy that would later bring Martin Luther King Jr. to rare public tears.

It follows the Watsons, a middle class African-American family from Michigan who travel to Birmingham at a watershed moment when schools are integrated.

The family bears witness not only to the overt racial creed of the South, but social destruction that mars a moment of victory.

“You need an event to galvanize a people,” star Wood Harris tells theGrio. “All throughout history, it’s like that. We just inherit the past, and nobody knows what to do with it, and then we get some event that reminds us…Rodney King, Boston bombings, Trayvon Martin, there’s a list of them. They’re all great big deals. In 1963, the bombing of a church, and for four little girls to die, I don’t think anybody should forget that.”

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