Listen Live
Fantastic Voyage Generic Graphics Updated Nov 2023
Color of Change Graphic

Source: TV One / Radio One Digital

In 1998, a powerful made-for-TV movie was released at the Chicago International Film Festival and later saw a wider premiere on USA Network in 1999. That film was The Color Of Courage, a period piece starring now-veteran actresses Lynn Whitfield and Linda Hamilton that details the historic 1948 Sipes v. McGhee case on housing discrimination in Detroit, Michigan.

For the special occasion of Juneteenth this coming Monday, our family over at TV One will be airing the film as part of a programming initiative that reflects both our freedom and future.

RELATED: What To Watch This Juneteenth: TV Programming For Black Joy [List]

The real-life case centered on a property deed issued to Orsel and Minnie McGhee that did its best to oust the Black married couple from an all-white neighborhood in the Motor City during a high time of segregation as World War II was coming to an end. The McGhees purchased their home in 1944, with the deed boldly stating, “This property shall not be used or occupied by any person or persons except those of the Caucasian race.” Clauses like these were referred to as ‘restrictive covenants.’

…say what, now?! More details below on this startling-yet-triumphant case that inspired The Color of Courage, quoted from a May 2022 article by Michigan Advance:

“The McGhees lost proceedings at the Detroit Recorder’s Court and the Michigan Supreme Court level. However, at the U.S. Supreme Court level, the majority in Shelley v. Kramer and in McGhee v. Sipes affirmed the right of individuals to make restrictive covenants but ruled that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause prohibited state courts from enforcing such contracts. On the same day, the nation’s high court ruled in Urciolo v. Hodge that restrictive covenants could not be enforced by federal courts.

The effect was a victory for the McGhees. Former Detroit Mayor and Michigan Gov. Frank Murphy, a Franklin D. Roosevelt-nominated U.S. Supreme Court justice, voted in the majority in the Shelley v. Kramer case that directly impacted the McGhees.”

We won’t spoil the film with too many details for those that plan to watch it for the first time on Juneteenth, but the dual performances by Whitfield and Hamilton truly speak to the film’s core themes of friendship, civil rights and what it means to be an ally.

The Color of Courage airs on TV One for Juneteenth (June 19) at 9PM/8C. Watch the original trailer for its VHS release — remember those?! — in the clip below: