The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

  • TV-PG
  • 2013
  • 1 Season
  • 8.7  (283)

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a six-part documentary series produced by PBS in 2013. The series explores the tumultuous journey of African Americans, from the arrival of the first Africans in America to the present day. It is a journey that traverses many rivers and encompasses many stories and struggles that have shaped the African American experience.

The show is hosted and narrated by Henry Louis Gates Jr., a renowned historian, filmmaker, and scholar in African American studies. Gates is joined by other experts such as Vincent Brown and Bernard E. Powers Jr., who provide additional insights and analysis throughout the series.

The first episode, titled "The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)," establishes the premise of the series by examining the arrival of the first Africans in America in 1619. The episode explores the initial interactions between Africans and Europeans, the rise of the transatlantic slave trade, and the various African cultures that were forcibly transported to the Americas.

The second episode, "The Age of Slavery (1800-1860)," focuses on the period of American history when slavery was legal and prevalent throughout much of the country. The episode explores the brutal realities of slavery, the resistance and rebellion of enslaved people, and the factors that led to the Civil War.

The third episode, "Into the Fire (1861-1896)," follows the period of Reconstruction and its eventual failure in the face of white supremacy and violence against Black people. The episode also explores the emergence of Black institutions such as schools, churches, and businesses, and how they provided a foundation for Black activism and resistance.

The fourth episode, "Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)," examines the period of Jim Crow segregation and the continued struggle for civil rights and equality. The episode explores the growth of Black communities, the emergence of Black leaders and intellectuals, and the role of the Great Migration in shaping African American culture and identity.

The fifth episode, "Rise! (1940-1968)," focuses on the pivotal period of the Civil Rights Movement and the challenges and triumphs of Black activism. The episode explores landmark events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery march, as well as the key figures who led these movements.

The final episode, "It's Nation Time (1968-2013)," brings the series up to the present day and examines the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality in America. The episode explores the emergence of Black political power and representation, the growth of Black popular culture, and the impact of social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Overall, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a powerful and comprehensive exploration of the African American experience. Through the use of archival footage, interviews, and expert analysis, the series illuminates the many struggles and triumphs of African Americans throughout history, as well as the ongoing challenges they face today. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in American history, race relations, and social justice.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (6 episodes). The series first aired on October 22, 2013.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
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A More Perfect Union (1968 - 2013)
6. A More Perfect Union (1968 - 2013)
November 26, 2013
From PBS: After 1968, African Americans set out to build a bright future on the foundation of the civil rights movement's victories, but a growing class disparity threatened to split the black community. As African Americans won political office across the country and the black middle class made progress, larger economic and political forces isolated the black urban poor. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, many hoped that America had finally transcended racism. By the time of his second victory, however, it was clear that many issues, including true racial equality, remain to be resolved. How will African Americans help redefine the United States in the years to come?
Rise! (1940 - 1968)
5. Rise! (1940 - 1968)
November 19, 2013
From PBS: "Rise!" examines the long road to civil rights, when the deep contradictions in American society finally became unsustainable. African Americans who fought fascism in World War II came home to face the same old racial violence. But mass media - from print to radio and TV - broadcast that injustice, planting seeds of resistance. The success of black entrepreneurs and entertainers fueled African-American hopes and dreams. In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, heralding the dawn of a movement of resistance, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its public face. Before long, masses of African Americans practiced this nonviolent approach to integrate public schools, lunch counters and more. Nonviolence, however, was often met with violence. In 1968, Dr. King was assassinated, unleashing a new call for "Black Power" across the country.
Making a Way Out of No Way (1897 - 1940)
4. Making a Way Out of No Way (1897 - 1940)
November 12, 2013
Chronicling 1897-1940, when blacks struggled to succeed within a segregated society; and when many migrated from the South to the North and West. Also recalled are such leaders as Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey; racial violence; and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.
Into the Fire (1861-1896)
3. Into the Fire (1861-1896)
November 5, 2013
From PBS: "Into the Fire" examines the most tumultuous and consequential period in African-American history: the Civil War and the end of slavery, and Reconstruction's thrilling but brief "moment in the sun." From the beginning, African Americans were agents of their liberation - by fleeing the plantations and taking up arms to serve in the United States Colored Troops. After Emancipation, African Americans sought to realize the promise of freedom - rebuilding families shattered by slavery; demanding economic, political and civil rights; even winning elected office - but a few years later, an intransigent South mounted a swift and vicious campaign of terror to restore white supremacy and roll back African-American rights. Yet the achievements of Reconstruction remained in the collective memory of the African-American community.
The Black Atlantic
2. The Black Atlantic
October 29, 2013
Explore the global experiences that created the African-American people.
The Age of Slavery
1. The Age of Slavery
October 22, 2013
How the lives of black people changed after the American Revolution.
Where to Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross on demand at Amazon Prime, Vudu and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    October 22, 2013
  • IMDB Rating
    8.7  (283)