Groundbreaking series 'Soul of a Nation' premieres tonight

‘Soul of a Nation’ is a new primetime series dedicated to telling stories about Black life in America.
9:32 | 03/02/21

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Transcript for Groundbreaking series 'Soul of a Nation' premieres tonight
Tonight ABC is launching a major project called soul of a nation. And it's a new prime time series there will be dedicated to telling stories about black life in America. In Evanston Illinois. Now the first American city to fund reparations eligible residents will be paid up to 25000 dollars each used for housing. Now activists hoped Evanston. Can be a blueprint for other cities one of the host of this groundbreaking series ABC's Byron Pitts will join us. In just a moment but first here's a preview of tonight's special take a look. I. Was looking at data I was looking at what we had done. What more can we do. And reparations was the only answer the only eighteen I'll only be and only he's only it anymore the same. Was gonna only at best help us sustain the a press day eight and the disparity that we have. And then we have had for years. A national reparations policy is a moral. Democratic. And economic and Paris as house resolution authority boat named as a nod to forty acres and a mule. Does the latest national step towards reparations off its supporters including actor and activist Danny Glover what is. Channel forty bruises and opportunity. To have a commission to study reparations but also lived further context in which we look at slavery and the impacted. So you think ever seem to be an example from an I think if we wouldn't use that as a platform. Maybe other cities might. Adopt the whole idea of this. An island co anchor and correspondent for his groundbreaking series Byron Pitts joins us now. Live Larry and thanks for being here no years have been busy man and we appreciated. And is different this series it it really is incredible. And it takes us into the black experience in America what should we expect to see tonight I think. Why didn't I think endures a CA hi holly production anyways this'll slocum movie venture Washington for an hour I think you'll be taken and that is why arranging and will look at some serious issues as music. No John Legend will perform at the end they'll be a performance at the end of every every every show. In our our friend and colleague Eric Johnson is who's the co executive producer I think framed it really well we begin work in this project months ago said he won his whole nation to be a lie. A black family reunion that will invite our white friends are Asian Latino friends gay street is welcome please come and other unions but. It's our reunion. That means the ribs and chicken and we'll cook and our way the species will be made our way that the potato Sally our way. The music hours and like all of us have never been so thinner you you know there have certainly reunion hard truths are spoken. Com Lawson hardy. Are recognized. Victories are celebrating its I think every Tuesday night. We hope to do that's a look at the black experience not not to give I kissed a Black America but to say this is a segment out if if you if you see America. As this beautiful quilts. Among the fabrics of the pieces of hall that quelled. Is the black American experience and we hope to show people in that very specific experience is very much a part of the American Xperia. And a piece of the quilt that hasn't gotten much attention in history and and needs it now and man Byron and I know what I know that this project was very close your heart I'm sure same goes for everyone else who worked on it. What I like to put this series together. All. I said I'm on the network on the conference call this morning commute was the answer is prayer people who know me I'm a person of faith and and initiatives a lot of my life. I'll look you know. This well what about this project is that we apply all the great standards. Of the best of professional journalists. We apply no ABC news Walt Disney we are a company of storytellers. And we believe in the power of the narrative and as you know ABC news and at Walt Disney that that diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our culture. And so it is a senate a couple of meetings you know I then a professional journalists for forty years so all flair and a couple things about journalists. But I'm black for sixty years and hopefully I know a few things about not particular experience as a man of color. And so my colleagues we had people all across ABC news men and women. The best at what they do corps also people of color food grain. They're professional experience and their life experiences to this work. So darn well lol we understand differently. After watching this series especially those of us who haven't lived the black experience in America I I wanna believe that in some ways and higher production all the way that that this project against a sort of connect the dots. End this great American experiment that we're all part of I think about one mr. isn't working on is about reparations and me go to Addison Illinois a suburb of Chicago. And that is still will be the first city in America whispering to paying reparations. Two African Americans are beginning of the spring about twin -- thousand dollars per person for house. In here's how they got there they they did research and looked up from 1919 to 1969 and Aniston. Illinois home of northwestern university's proudly liberal city. They're from 1990 in 1969. On the books were laws specifically. Designed. To discriminates specifically. Against black people to deny them housing opportunities. And there were economic consequences they came out of that. Those laws intended to discrimination there there there's that ability in this case to measure the impact of racism he can housing. So Edison decided in this racial reckoning that that that the country is in right now. Let's look at reparations and has explained it to me. Reparations in many ways as they see it is like restitution. Anywhere in America if someone breaks into your home and they're caught in many Britain to your house they still your TV they still your computer. Well. They can never restore the sense of safety you may have had before your home was violate. But I am payback for the TV and the computer. And so that's what I'm Edmondson is attempting to do reparations is something we connect so we will help the nation connect that I wasn't I'll say about that. You I know as parents and and I military. Knows this as well as as a father that one of the many things we teach our children. Is wheat she stemmed C become comfortable. With the uncomfortable that's part of learning. And so we will have the uncomfortable conversation about a variety atop X. On the support and will also celebrate things that are unique and special about the African American experience. And I'm Byron we learned today about the deaths of Vernon Jordan talked to can. About his legacy and how he'll be remembered all Bernard Jordan was a giant and it sure how tall it was but he was at least six foot four. And just as a personality she was twice as always that I mean she. You know Vernon Jordan just as bio he was the ahead of the Urban League in his early thirties. On this major significant organization was in trusted in the hands of a young man in his early thirties. You know he's a graduate of of of howry university law school knew that the same school that produced our vice president undergrad produced a man like Vernon Jordan. An accomplished lawyer. And he wasn't a friend of the powerful as is well known he was good friends with with are former President Bill Clinton in fact he was chairman of the Clinton transition team a first for men of color in this country to lead. The transition of power. At the White House. You know and again as I thought about him today. Continue to follow a couple times he was also one as he wasn't simply a mandatory. So a number of people for generations he also sponsor. He would put Colin in the game two assists. The next generation of young people in particular young people of color to advance their careers at if you had the goods. Vernon Jordan was someone who could support an open the door is as ice and in many ways. Vernon Jordan was a tailored suit version of John Lewis that he too was a civil rights activists teaching believed. Engaging in the good trouble. By hitting get in big trouble unnecessarily. And demonstrations. And in Selma. And in jail houses she got in good troubled and corporate board rooms. Incur rating opportunities war. Often times people of color to be successful. In corporate America so I I think you know when you. I know this year there they're too. Two. Oh. Women of color who are named CEOs of fortune 500 companies I bet you a dollar both of them have a story about how in some way along the way either Vernon Jordan helped them or made a phone call to make some things are possible for them. He was an elegant name. And he will be missed. Byron Pitts friend it's great to have you I cannot wait to watch tonight thank you. And you at home can watch the premiere of soul of the nation tonight at 10 o'clock eastern 9 central on ABC.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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