WGN America screened its highly anticipated original series “Underground” Monday evening at the White House, as part of the White House Office of Public Engagement’s Black History Month event, “These Hallowed Grounds and ‘Underground’ Screening,” highlighting landmarks and monuments around the country significant to the African American community, including stops on the Underground Railroad. The gripping premiere episode was lauded by attendees at the event held in the White House’s South Court Auditorium. In addition to the cast and creative team, the White House event was attended by Senior Administration Officials and led by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Barack Obama. Deputy Secretary O’Dell, Deputy Director, National Park Services, provided additional remarks before the panels and screening commenced.
Other notables in attendance also included: Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Professor, Harvard University and President of The Association for the Study of African American Life & History; Dr. Cheryl LaRoche, Professor, University of Maryland College Park; Dr. Leslie Harris, Professor, Emory University; Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; Richard Dana, Attorney and Professor Adjunct at Kent State University; Dr. Salamishah Tillet, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Jeff Johnson, Moderator, Principal JLJ Communications; Peter Liguori, President and CEO, Tribune Media; Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America; Zack Van Amburg, President, Programming & Production, Sony Pictures Television; Jamie Erlicht, President, Programming & Production, Sony Pictures Television; Anthony Hemingway, Director and Executive Producer of “Underground”; and Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold and Mike Jackson, Executive Producers of “Underground.”
Prior to the screening, the “Underground” cast and creative team, including executive producer John Legend, creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, executive producer Akiva Goldsman, director and executive producer Anthony Hemingway, along with President and General Manager of WGN America, Matt Cherniss, and stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw and Amirah Vann, participated in panel discussions in which they elaborated on the inspiration behind the escape thriller, premiering Wednesday, March 9 (10 p.m. ET/PT) on WGN America, and produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios.