The special, which was executive produced by Common, focuses on the 1960s civil rights movement in Detroit through the eyes of Melody, a 10-year-old girl who grows up learning about racial inequality through events like the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing and her own experiences in school and the world around her.
“She dealt with a lot of negativity. A lot of people didn’t like her because of the color of her skin,” explains the 12-year-old actress in ET’s exclusive first look featurette. “But she also had that strong person inside of her, that she knows can stop all of that.”
After Melody begins to question her belief in the Pledge of Allegiance, which she recites every day in class, she and her teacher, Miss Abbot (Frances Fisher, Titanic) go on a journey of self-reflection together as they work towards change and witness “history in the making.”
“We’re talking about the civil rights era, however, a lot of the issues of that time are still things that we’re dealing with today,” says Idara Victor (Rizzoli & Isles), who plays Frances Ellison, Melody’s hard-working mother, who teaches her daughter the importance of setting a positive example and standing up for what’s right. “I think this story does a beautiful job of explaining the roots of those issues, and how far we’ve come, or not.”