Toni Award winner and Grammy nominee Anika Noni Rose lights up the screen in The Watsons Go to Birmingham, which premieres exclusively tonight on The Hallmark Channel.

The film is based on Christopher Paul Curtis’ 1996 book The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963, and is the captivating story of an all-American family who take a road trip from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, where they encounter prejudice and violence the likes of which they could have never imagined.

“I don’t think we have enough movies and television shows that families can sit down and watch together, and I think it’s important that we tell stories about this era because there are a lot of young people right now that don’t know anything about it,” Rose told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon.

“It could be easy to lose this history, and a lot of people would be content to lose it because they find it may be embarrassing or uncomfortable.”

Sunday, Kerry Washington stands to make history as the first black actress to ever receive an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Rose discussed how Washington’s role on ABC’s Scandal has opened doors for other black actresses in Hollywood.

“I’m really happy for Kerry and I’m happy for people that can look at her and see, ‘oh yes this is a viable product here. This is something that people want to see and enjoy seeing and is necessary to see because it’s a part of our world. I think she’s representing an America that people don’t necessarily know exists.”

The Watsons go to Birmingham premieres tonight at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter for more Entertainment news at @WitherspoonC