Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

A six part documentary series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. covers the 500 years of African American history. Each episode of the series focuses on a specific period of time in the history of the African American people starting from the very beginning, in Africa to current issues and events of today. Interviews are done with many different historians, and others with knowledge of African American history. Gates travels all over the world to key areas where there are historical landmarks and cities that shaped the history of the African American people.

Gates is thorough in his research and investigation into the history of the African Americans and to document the struggles that they faced. This series is great for those who enjoy historical documentaries, those who want to learn more about the history of the African American culture and history buffs of all ages. Gates covers historical facts that are not easily found in most history books and keeps the series from being too stiff.

PBS
1 Season, 6 Episodes
October 22, 2013
Documentary & Biography
8.4/10
Cast: Henry Louis Gates, Bernard E. Powers Jr., Peniel E. Joseph
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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross Full Episode Guide

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Explore the global experiences that created the African-American people.

  • How the lives of black people changed after the American Revolution.

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