PBS history series chronicles 500 years of Black American history

10/23/2013 7:58 pm0 commentsViews: 51

By Olu Alemoru, Staff Writer

With the limited release of “12 Years A Slave” winning critical and commercial plaudits and an upcoming project on Harriet Tubman and a “Roots” revisit, one painful part of Black American history seems to be in vogue.

Last week, media mogul Russell Simmons, speaking at a red carpet Directors Guild of America “12 Years” screening, revealed he is producing multiple similar projects — including one on Tubman — and was adamant that there “aren’t enough of these projects” being seen.

However, a great swathe of the Black experience is about to be told in “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” a six-part, six hour series that chronicles African-American history from slavery to freedom, and from the plantation to the White House.

The series, written and presented by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., debuted Tuesday and runs through Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. on PBS Socal.

In consecutive order, the show will explore the global experience that created African-American people from 1500 to 1800, chart dramatic change in the aftermath of the American Revolution, going on to the Civil War, through slavery’s end and Reconstruction from 1861 to 1896.

Parts four and five examine the Jim Crow era and civil rights, concluding with a look at the class disparity in the Black community and Barack Obama’s two presidential wins.

Amongst Gate’s interviewees are journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rep. John Lewis and civil rights activist Diane Nash.



Norman Rockwell’s painting of six year-old Ruby Bridges being escorted into a New Orleans school in 1960.


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