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WGPR-TV62 Museum celebrate 1st anniversary on MLK Day

Detroit’s newest cultural institution, the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center, will celebrate its first anniversary with a public event on the Martin Luther King holiday, Monday, January 15, 2018.

The celebration takes place at the museum at 3146 East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. There will be a variety of activities for all ages, including a Black Media History Quiz, Oral History Video Zone, and a Back in the Day Hustle Session led by Fast Freddy, a popular dancer on the former WGPR-TV62 show ‘The Scene.” Video clips of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches will play on a large screen throughout the celebration.

“We opened the museum last year on Martin Luther King Day as a testament to the many doors that have opened to African Americans in the wake of the modern day civil rights movement,” said Karen Hudson Samuels, executive director of the WGPR-TV62 Historical Society and former WGPR-TV62 news director.

The state-of-the-art, interactive museum was founded by the WGPR-TV62 Historical Society and is dedicated to the historic achievements of the nation’s first African-American owned and operated television station. The museum is named after WGPR’s founder, Dr. William V. Banks, and is located inside the landmark building housing the original television and radio studios.

WGPR-TV62 officially began broadcasting on September 29, 1975. In the early ‘70s, Dr. Banks, founder of the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of Eastern Star, met with then President Richard Nixon to discuss the absence of Black television station ownership. Nixon pledged that a broadcast license would be awarded to an African American, and Dr. Banks became the first Black recipient.

“WGPR-TV paved the way for original, local minority programming and launched the media careers of numerous African Americans,” said Joe Spencer, former WGPR program director and current president of the WGPR-TV62 Historical Society. The station remained on the air for 20 years, until its sale to CBS in 1995. WGPR’s sister radio station, 107.5 FM, remains on the air.

The William V. Banks Broadcast Museum is open on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. Visitors can explore WGPR-TV’s history through interactive exhibits, story panels, memorabilia displays, and archival program videos. For information on guided tours and facility rentals, email: Detroit@wgprtvhistory.org.

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