To commemorate Memorial Day, The HISTORY Channel is premiering three special programs—two documentaries and a new series—that highlight different facets of American history and that pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served the United States.
"Black Patriots: Buffalo Soldiers" is a one-hour documentary that tells the largely unknown story of the country's first all-Black peacetime regiments who fought to expand America's presence in the West and defend the United States on foreign soil. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act, which authorized the creation of six, all-Black peacetime regiments. These men later became known as the Buffalo Soldiers and fought for decades to protect settlers and national parks, built roads and infrastructures, and participated in various military efforts. At the same time, they fought for equality and justice.
"The HISTORY Channel is committed to highlighting historical figures and events that shaped our nation for the better, and the story of the Buffalo Soldiers is one of courage, perseverance and heroism that deserves to be told," said Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for The HISTORY Channel. "We are honored to partner with Blair Underwood to bring this story to life and shed light on this incredibly important piece of history for our audiences."
Narrated by Blair Underwood, an award-winning actor whose father is a retired colonel and served for nearly three decades, the documentary takes a dive into this period of time in America when the Buffalo soldiers were in the midst of protecting and shaping the future of the nation. Their story is told through interviews with military experts, historians and descendants of the Buffalo soldiers, historic photography, original illustrations, and never-before-seen documents.
"Black Patriots: Buffalo Soldiers" will air on May 31 on The HISTORY Channel.
Also premiering this weekend is The HISTORY Channel's presidential documentary event, "Theodore Roosevelt," which is the network's fourth premium presidential miniseries. "Abraham Lincoln" debuted earlier this year on Presidents Day Weekend. The documentary will be presented over two nights and is based on the New York Times bestseller, "Leadership: In Turbulent Times" by world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize winning best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin, who is the executive producer.
The documentary explores the life of Roosevelt from different angles—as a cowboy, soldier, statesman, conservationist, adventurer, reformer, author, and as the youngest president of the United States at the age of 42. His story of personal loss is also told—from his privileged yet sickly childhood, his perseverance to overcome physical obstacles, to his motivation to fight injustice. Interviews with renowned historians and authors, including Roosevelt's great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt, are featured throughout the film.
"Working with The HISTORY Channel has proved an ongoing source of pride as we are united in our commitment to tell meaningful stories of presidential history and leadership for audiences across the globe," said Goodwin. "Bringing the fiery and fair-minded Theodore Roosevelt to life has been a particular 'dee-light,' as it's been to work with partners Appian Way and RadicalMedia, to show how Teddy sought to create a sense of common purpose among all people, using his leadership not simply to stoke his base and solidify faction, but rather, to find common ground in order to knit classes and regions of people together."
"Theodore Roosevelt" airs on May 30 and May 31 on The HISTORY Channel.
The network is also premiering the new series, "The American Presidency with Bill Clinton," which explores the history of the American presidency and the struggle for a more perfect union. Hosted and executive produced by President Bill Clinton, the series contains six themed episodes that each focus on race, extremism, the struggle for rights, presidential vision, global power, and economic might.
The series features commentary from renowned authors, historians, and witnesses to history, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Jon Meacham and Annette Gordon Reed. Each episode looks at a variety of presidential action that moved the country forward, such as when President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas, President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation, and Lyndon B. Johnson's signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. On the other end of the spectrum, the series also looks at presidential decisions that caused division in the country, such as Herbert Hoover's "repatriation drives" and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066.
"We are privileged to partner with President Clinton to take our viewers through these defining historical moments, to analyze the public sentiment at the time and the driving forces behind the critical choices made by a wide-range of presidents and the long-lasting effects that still define our country today—both good and bad," said The HISTORY Channel's Eli Lehrer.
"The American Presidency" series debuts on May 30.
As the holiday weekend begins, The HISTORY Channel is set to offer TV viewers powerful and rich programming that honors those who served in uniform and those who sacrificed their lives for the future of the nation.