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Commentary: How Mister Rogers’ faith shaped his idea of children’s television

The beloved children’s television icon Fred Rogers — who is played by actor Tom Hanks in the upcoming film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” — entered the world of children’s programming during an era of massive political and cultural upheaval.

In the 1960s, Americans were witnessing the horrors of war from within their homes for the first time, on television screens. Civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. were fighting for racial and economic justice, and these protests were often violently suppressed. The feminist movement was also seeking equal rights and freedom for women.