A Night Of History! Ali, Nixon & The Sixties

Jan 29, 2014

American Experience: 1964

On Thursday nights, WLRN revisits key moments in history with powerful and compelling documentaries from South Florida, the United States and the world at large.

On January 30, Channel 17, relive – and reexamine - the pivotal events that shaped the Sixties through three documentaries that span the decade:

American Experience: 1964 (8:00 p.m.)

It was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi, Berkeley students rose up in protest and African-Americans fought back against injustice in Harlem.

1964 presented Americans with fateful choices: between the liberalism of Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater’s grassroots conservatism, between support or opposition to the civil rights movement, between an embrace of the counterculture or a defense of traditional values. 

Based in part on The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964 by Jon Margolis, the film evaluates some of the most influential figures of the time but also draws upon the stories of ordinary Americans whose principled stands would set the country on a new course. 

Muhammad Ali: Made In Miami

Muhammad Ali: Made In Miami (9:00 p.m.)

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami explores the critical role that Miami played in the evolution of one of the most significant cultural figures of our time.

Cassius Clay arrived in South Florida in the fall of 1960, fresh from earning an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight boxer in the Rome Olympics.  This is also the story of Miami's black community and the famed Fifth Street Gym. Combining rarely-seen footage and interviews with those who were there, the film examines several critical episodes in Ali's life that played out in Miami, including his friendship with Malcolm X, his celebrated encounter with the Beatles and his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami provides a fascinating chronicle of the personal and professional transformations the legendary fighter experienced in the city, and argues compellingly that, without Miami, there might never have been a Muhammad Ali.

Nixon's The One

Nixon's The One: The '68 Election (11:00 p.m.)

In 1962, Richard Nixon’s once meteoric political career lay in ruins. The former vice president had suffered two bitter election defeats; one in the 1960 presidential race against John F. Kennedy, the other in a bid for the governorship of his home state of California. Yet, only six years later, Nixon would be elected president of the United States. How did it happen? Why did it happen?

That is the historical riddle that Nixon’s the One: The ’68 Election (And How It Changed America) examines. Combining elements of biography with an exploration of the larger cultural, political and historical landscape of the Sixties, the film argues that Nixon, far from being an improbable president, was the figure who most expertly exploited the tensions of the era, harnessing them for his own ends.

A story about the political awakening of the U.S. Sunbelt and of the people Nixon called his “forgotten Americans,” Nixon’s the One unearths the origins of the red state-blue state divide. Narrated by Dick Cavett, it’s a wry and thought-provoking look at how the Sixties divided us, and how one man stepped into the cultural breach to stage the biggest political comeback in American history.