Following its historic grand opening on Sept. 24, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will host a screening of Underground in their Oprah Winfrey Theater. The presentation will be the inaugural public program held at the museum, as well as the first public presentation to be shown in the theater.
WGN America’s Underground tells the story of courageous enslaved blacks who made the dangerous decision to embark on their journey to freedom via the Underground Railroad, coinciding with one of the museum’s inaugural exhibitions. “Slavery and Freedom,” in the museum’s History Galleries, explores the complexity of American slavery, beginning in 15th century with the transatlantic slave trade, through the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Underground is a powerful series, one that speaks to our collective history in a way that deeply resonates with viewers, and it is a tremendous honor to be a part of this historic moment as the inaugural public program of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture,” said WGN President and General Manager Matt Cherniss in a statement.
“To be included as the inaugural public program of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture is beyond an honor and speaks to the ground-breaking power and culturally significant impact that one television show can have,” added Sony Pictures Television Presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
Underground’s second season, currently in production for an early 2017 premiere, will focus on Harriet Tubman, the Railroad’s most famous operator, Civil War spy and suffragette. Among the important artifacts on display in “Slavery and Freedom” are Tubman’s hymnal (c.1876); a lace shawl (c.1897) gifted to her by Queen Victoria; and family photographs from her funeral.
The screening will take place on Monday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. EST in the Smithsonian’s Oprah Winfrey Theater. A panel discussion will follow the screening with Underground co-creator, writer and executive producer Misha Green and cast members Alano Miller (Cato), Amirah Vann (Ernestine), Jessica de Gouw (Elizabeth Hawkes) and Aisha Hinds (Harriet Tubman), moderated by the museum’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, Dr. Rex Ellis.