DCW50, Washington’s CW, is proud to be the market leader in commemorating Black History Month each year.  The station’s award-winning coverage includes original locally-produced programming;  re-broadcasts of past half-hour Washington, DC-based documentaries;  community outreach and informational access on the station’s digital platforms;  custom public service announcements (broadcast throughout each day);  syndicated specials, and more. 

DCW50’s “Hidden History” Awards

Each year, DCW50 adds to its award-winning library of locally produced documentaries.  Listed below are the programs featured each February during Black History month. These specials have been nominated for multiple awards over the years.  The “Hidden History” series  is the recipient of the following awards:


  • 2018 Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “North Star to Freedom”
  • 2017  Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “Jim Crow:  Freedoms Deferred”
  • 2013 Outstanding Documentary / Large Market “The Dream Began Here”
  • 2011 Outstanding Public Service Special / Large Market “Howard Theatre:  A Century in Song”


  • 2019 Emmy Award “Outstanding Cultural & Historical Special” Living Black History
  • 2018 Emmy Award “Outstanding Cultural & Historical Special” North Star to Freedom
  • 2013 Emmy Award “Outstanding Cultural & Historical Special” The Dream Began Here


  • 2011   Broadcast Excellence Award / Public Affairs.  Hattie’s Lost Legacy

Show Lineup

We live in the midst of history every day, but ROADS TO FREEDOM revealed some historic sites in our area that you may never have heard of, let alone visited. ROADS TO FREEDOM took us down the local highways and byways that forever changed the history of all Americans.  From Harpers Ferry where John Brown stuck a dagger in the heart of slavery with his failed revolution to the battlefields of Petersburg, Virginia where the U.S. Colored Troops endured a nine-month siege that secured the Union Victory, ROADS TO FREEDOM examines the rich history of our local communities.  Along the way, ROADS TO FREEDOM profiles several local former plantations, one in Bethesda (right off Old Georgetown Road) where the original Uncle Tom’s Cabin once stood.  The other plantation, in Fairfax, features tales of courage and examples of the endurance of the slaves who kept the plantation running. This program also examines the chaotic life in Washington during the Civil War and key events that could have changed the outcome and American history forever. We visited one of the 68 forts that once formed a protective ring around our capital city and saw the spot where President Lincoln was nearly shot and killed by a Confederate sniper.

Howard Theatre: A Century in Song isa locally produced specialchronicling the rich history of Washington, DC’s famed Howard Theatre. It launched the careers of legendary musical artists, Duke Ellington, BB King, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack and many others. Featured are local historians, entertainers and vintage footage and photographs of the historic landmark. The theatre, closed for nearly 35 years and in a state of decline, was in the midst of a major renovation when this special was originally broadcast five years ago. Howard Theatre: A Century in Song looked ahead as the theatre underwent restoration.  Hosted by DCW50’s Robin Hamilton, Howard Theatre:  A Century in Song was awarded the prestigious “Salute to Excellence Award” by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2011, and was a featured presentation at the Congressional Black Caucus meetings.  This program was also nominated for a regional Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Documentary.

Visit the Howard Theatre’s website: CLICK HERE

2013 Regional Emmy Winner!  From the first African Americans to pioneer the Civil Rights Movement, to our first African American President, The Dream Began Here explores the evolving roles African Americans had within the White House, the city of Washington, D.C., and our surrounding areas. The Dream Began Here highlights the major contributions of African Americans in the early days of building our nation’s capital.

Despite the Civil War victory that granted slaves their freedom, Jim Crow laws helped maintain a segregated society and severely limited opportunities for Blacks. Some might be surprised that Jim Crow rulings impacted our contemporary times in many ways. “Freedom Deferred” chronicles the evolution of Jim Crow laws and profiles some people who were impacted by these rulings.

Many think they know the history of where they live but do they really? “In your own Backyard” speaks on the African American history in Washington DC, their local businesses and culture. “In your own Backyard also covers African American history in California and Chicago, touching on many topics regarding the first all-black fire station, Central Ave which was home to many blacks, The Lincoln Theater in California which is now a church and Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, known as the Founding Father in Chicago. The history this show provides you is knowledgeable and interesting to know that what you learn during this episode is only down the street or in your own backyard.

WDCW-TV’s 2015 “Hidden History” special, Founding Mothers,   will profile several African American women from the Washington, DC area, who over the last two centuries, have forged new rights and freedoms for their children, grandchildren, and generations beyond their respective lifetimes. 

Hattie’s Lost Legacy traced the career of the first African American Oscar-winner Hattie McDaniel (best supporting actress, 1939, “Gone with the Wind”) and the many challenges she encountered along the way. Upon her death in 1952, she left her historic Oscar to Howard University as a “beacon of hope and inspiration” to Howard University in Washington, DC.  In the late 1960’s, amongst political upheaval in the nation’s capital, the Oscar was lost, misplaced, stolen or possibly thrown in the Potomac River.  Hattie’s Lost Legacy traced McDaniel’s storied career, her Oscar win, and the eventual disappearance of her Academy Award. Guests included 2010 Oscar winner Mo’Nique and Los Angeles Times film historian and critic Tom O’Neil.  This program was nominated for a regional Emmy Award and won the national Alliance for Women in Media Award (Gracie Award) for Outstanding Public Affairs special.

A Museum for the Ages.  DCW50 chronicles the history of a museum that has made history.  DCW50’s “Hidden History” examines why and how the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) came to be.  Doors opened to the critically-acclaimed museum in the fall of 2016.  The original expectation and hope for daily attendance was 3,000.  More than a year later, the daily attendance exceeds 8,000.  DCW50’s “Hidden History” special looks back at the early attempts to create a museum of African American History.  Guests include Founding Director Lonnie Bunch, who shares the challenges he encountered in creating this enormously popular Washington, DC attraction.  The show also explores some behind-the-scenes stories including how a historic “Jim Crow” train car was lowered into the museum at the very beginning of construction.

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