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ESPN, Longhorn To Launch Black History Month Fare

ESPN and its sister regional sports service Longhorn Network will commemorate Black History Month with original specials featuring African-Americans who made a positive influence in sports and society.

ESPN will televise on Feb. 22 Trailblazers; Past Present and Future, which will team current African-American sports stars with living legends to discuss challenges still to be overcome, said network officials.

Longhorn Network on Feb. 10 will air Reflections on Race, which tells the story of nine African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education declaring segregation unconstitutional.

The network will also premiere on Feb. 26 Through the Eyes of Texas: Integration, in whichHeisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams looks back at how the state’s flagship university responded to integration.

Also as part of the month-long celebration, SportsCenter and Outside the Lines during the week of Feb. 8  will air a feature exploring why some athletes are now willing to be more politically outspoken. On Feb. 15, SportsCenter will examine the importance of football at an underprivileged, economically and racially segregated high school in Tuscaloosa, Ala. as part of its SC Featured segment, said network officials.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.