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CBS NEWS LIVE EXPERIENCES will bring together a group of newsmakers from the worlds of news, entertainment and sports for CBS NEWS: 50 YEARS LATER, CIVIL RIGHTS a live interactive event exploring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ Chief Washington correspondent and host of FACE THE NATION, will moderate the event to be carried live July 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT on Smithsonian Channel, CBSNews.com and MSN.com, and powered by Microsoft’s Bing Pulse.


Entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte; author and historian Taylor Branch; CBS Sports broadcaster James Brown; Brooklyn Nets star Jason Collins; Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg; Congressman John Lewis (D-GA); actress Rosie Perez; attorney Evan Wolfson; and others will join Schieffer at the Ed Sullivan Theater to discuss how the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s has had a personal impact on their lives as well as on the culture, society and politics of today and tomorrow. Using their varied backgrounds, panelists will explore the powerful and tumultuous events of the summer of 1964, when three Civil Rights workers went missing, and were later found to have been murdered. Panelists will also share their emotional first-hand experiences of how the Civil Rights movement influences social reform today.

Viewers at home and those at The Ed Sullivan Theater can become part of the event by using Microsoft’s Bing Pulse technology, which will allow anyone with a mobile device, tablet or computer to interact with the program by voting on poll questions while providing panelists real-time feedback as the event unfolds, creating a true second-screen experience for CBS NEWS: 50 YEARS LATER, CIVIL RIGHTS.




Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte exposed America to world music and spent his life challenging and overturning racial barriers across the globe.

Belafonte met a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on King’s historic visit to New York in the early 1950s. Belafonte and King developed a deep and abiding friendship, and Belafonte played a key role in the civil rights movement, including the 1963 March on Washington.

Belafonte served as the cultural advisor for the Peace Corps, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was honored as an Ambassador of Conscience by Amnesty International. Recently, Belafonte founded the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a non-profit social justice organization that utilizes the power of culture and celebrity in partnership with activism. It is a space for artists to contribute their talents to build awareness and confront the issues that negatively impact marginalized communities.


Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy, a Daytime Emmy and a Tony.

She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities. Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

Whoopi has been honored with multiple NAACP Image Awards, numerous People’s Choice Awards (including a special tribute in 1998) and five Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards as “Favorite Movie Actress,” as well as various awards and honors for her many humanitarian efforts.


Rosie Perez

An Academy Award nominated actress and Emmy nominated choreographer, Rosie Perez continues to shine in her varied roles in front of the camera and behind.

Perez served as the National Spokesperson for Comite Noviembre Puerto Rican Heritage and was honored in New York during Puerto Rican and Hispanic Heritage Month. She joins the Women for Peace & Justice in Vieques, Puerto Rico in demanding the removal of the US Navy from Vieques and the end of the Navy’s use of that island as a test bombing site. In addition, Perez was honored in the Puerto Rican Day Parade in June 2000. Perez was honored at the 2002 San Juan Cinemafest, where she received the Raul Julia Award for her support to the Puerto Rican, Caribbean and international film communities.


James Brown

James Brown serves as host for the CBS Television Network’s NFL pre-game show, THE NFL TODAY. He will again anchor THE NFL TODAY along with analysts Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Bill Cowher. Brown has hosted the Network’s Super Bowl pre-game show for its coverage of Super Bowl XLIV (2010) and Super Bowl XLI (2007) in Miami, and will do so again this year for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Earlier this year, he was named Special Correspondent for CBS News contributing to 60 MINUTES, CBS THIS MORNING and CBS EVENING NEWS.

No stranger to charitable efforts, JB hosts the P.U.L.S.E. Awards, featuring The JB Awards where NFL players are honored for their outstanding community service. He also has worked on behalf of Darrell Green’s Youth Life Foundation, the Neimann Pick Disease Foundation and the Marrow Foundation, the HollyRod Foundation, Special Olympics DC, among numerous other charities and foundations.


John Lewis

Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

He has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress,” and Roll Call magazine has said, “John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.”

In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. While serving on the Council, he was an advocate for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

Taylor Branch (Photo: Jean-Pierre Isbendjian)

Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his three-volume narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize for History and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand. The King-era trilogy required more than twenty-four years of intensive research.

Branch returned to civil rights history in his latest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013). Aside from writing, and teaching, he speaks before a wide variety of audiences. He began his career as a magazine journalist for The Washington Monthly in 1970, moving later to Harper’s and Esquire. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.


Evan Wolfson

Long-time gay and lesbian civil rights leader Evan Wolfson lives in New York City, where he launched Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide, in 2003. Wolfson now serves as Freedom to Marry’s President.

Wolfson served in Washington, D.C. as Associate Counsel to Lawrence Walsh in the Office of Independent Counsel (Iran/Contra), and in 1992, he served on the New York State Task Force on Sexual Harassment.

Wolfson has taught as an adjunct professor of law at Columbia University and Rutgers University Law Schools, and served as a senior fellow at The New School’s Wolfson Center for National Affairs.


CBS NEWS: 50 YEARS LATER, CIVIL RIGHTS is the second in a series of multi-media, immersive events created by CBS Live Experiences to mark significant events in history. The first, which was held in February, highlighted The Beatles arrival in the U.S. in 1964.

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