The Watsons Go To Birmingham Airs Friday Sept 20 8/7c
A new film based on the classic book The Watson’s Go To Birmingham is premiering on the Hallmark channel this Friday, September 20th at 8/7c pm. You may have read the book as assigned reading in school. If so, you’ll remember it follows a fun, middle class Black family with 3 school aged children. They leave their home in Michigan to spend time with their grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama. The story starts out charmingly, but darkens as the Watsons get deeper in the South and realize that life there is different. The degree of this difference is driven home when the Grandmother”s local church is bombed.
Bellow is the official summary of the film from the Hallmark website:
In the Summer of 1963, Flint, Michigan is home to the Watsons, a close knit family made up of Daniel and Wilona Watson, (Wood Harris and Anika Noni Rose) and their three kids, 15-year-old juvenile delinquent Byron (Harrison Knight), nerdy 11-year-old Kenny (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and eight-year-old adorable sister Joetta (Skai Jackson). When Byron’s antics go over the top, his parents realize enough is enough and they decide the family needs a dose of Grandma Sands’ (LaTanya Richardson Jackson) no nonsense approach in Birmingham, Alabama.
So the Watsons load up their 1948 Plymouth Brown Bomber outfitted with a true tone Ultra-Glide turntable and head South with plenty of comedy en route. When they finally make it to Birmingham, they meet Grandma Sands and her friend, Mr. Robert (David Alan Grier), who show them around town and the Watsons discover that life is very different there than in Flint – and not necessarily for the better. During that historic summer, the Watsons find themselves caught up in something far bigger than Byron’s antics; something that will change their lives and country forever.
Below is a 4 minute feature for the film including interview snippets with author Christopher Paul Curtis:
It’s a delight to see an original Black film adapted by a “non-Black” television network, especially one with such touchy subject material. In spite of the weight of the subject matter, its certainly a film the whole family can watch together. Tune in and return to post your thoughts below!