TV: Documentary LBJ on CNN and Lincoln on History Channel


“LBJ: Triumph and Tragedy” is CNN’s four-part documentary examining the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.


Summer of Soul (8 p.m., ABC) – In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and moving documentary that is both musical film and historic record, and created around an epic event that celebrated history, black culture and fashion. Over six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, the Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed at Marcus Garvey Park. The images have never been seen and largely forgotten until now. This documentary, which premiered last year on Hulu, includes never-before-seen concerts from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

Abraham Lincoln (8 p.m., HISTORY) – A three-night documentary event meant to be a definitive biography of the 16th president – the man who led the country through its bloodiest war and greatest crisis. Executive produced by Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning bestselling author, “Abraham Lincoln” is based on Kearns Goodwin’s New York Times bestseller, “Leadership: In Turbulent Times.” From HISTORY: “From Lincoln’s impoverished childhood (played by Emmy-nominated actor Graham Sibley) to his days as a young prairie lawyer and aspiring politician, to his unlikely election to the presidency and his assassination just five days after the end of the Civil War, “Abraham Lincoln” offers viewers a surprising new insight into the man consistently ranked by historians and the American people as the nation’s greatest president. lesser-known aspects of Lincoln’s life and leadership through premium dramatic action scenes where his humility, empathy, resilience, ambition, political acumen and humor are on full display.Combined with interviews with experts – including President Barack Obama, General Stan McCrystal and renowned historians Christy Coleman, Dr. Allen Guelzo, Dr. Edna Greene Medford, Harold Holzer, Dr. Caroline Janney, Dr. Cath erine clinton – archival photos and news reports, letters, writings and speeches of lincoln, as well as reminiscences of his contemporaries, this miniseries offers a fresh new understanding of the complexities of young abraham lincoln who becomes President Lincoln, the man who saved the Union, won the war and secured emancipation.”

LBJ: Triumph and Tragedy (9 p.m., CNN) – This four-part documentary offers a captivating look at Lyndon B. Johnson, one of the most important and enigmatic presidents in American history. From CNN: “Thrusted into the presidency under tragic circumstances, LBJ has used the office to pass the most significant civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. While managing to reshape the social fabric of the nation, he simultaneously escalated one of America’s most contentious wars, which subsequently overshadowed his national achievements. “LBJ: Triumph and Tragedy” examines the larger-than-life figure full of fascinating contradictions, who left a complicated and polarizing legacy. It kicks off with back-to-back episodes tonight and the final two episodes tomorrow. Tonight, Johnson becomes the 36th President of the United States in a national tragedy, he immediately uses office to pass the most significant civil rights legislation in nearly a century. At age 10, Johnson was emboldened by his stunning election victory and seized the moment to pursue “big society”, with the civil rights struggles in Selma providing a unique opportunity to advance his domestic politics.

Some programming descriptions are provided by the networks.

Brooke Cain is from North Carolina and has worked at The News & Observer for over 25 years. She is the editor of service journalism and writes about television and local media for The N&O’s Happiness is a Warm TV blog.