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When most of us think back to our history lessons about America’s discovery, the first people that come to mind are of European descent. But few know of a slave,known as Esteban the Moor, who traveled America and was the first African to do so.
This and many other facts are featured in a new PBS documentary that October 22. Off the heels of “African American Lives” and “Finding Your Roots” comes Dr. Henry “Skip” Gates’ new PBS documentary, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.” The noted Harvard scholar recounts the full trajectory of African-American history, from slavery through the election of this country’s first black president, in a new six-part series.
In addition to the documentary, Gates has released a complimentary book that he hopes to integrate as a teaching tool into America’s schools. Click here for more information.
“The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” continues Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS and airs each Tuesday through November 26, 2013.
The documentary episodes include:
Episode Two: The Age of Slavery (1800 – 1860)
Tuesday, October 29, 8-9 p.m.
The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution. For free black people in places like Philadelphia, these years were a time of tremendous opportunity. But for most African Americans, this era represented a new nadir.
Episode Three: Into the Fire (1861 – 1896)
Tuesday, November 5, 8-9 p.m.
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 tragically brief “moment in the sun.” From the beginning, African Americans were agents of their own liberation — forcing the Union to confront the issue of slavery by fleeing the plantations, and taking up arms to serve with honor in the United States Colored Troops.
Episode Four: Making a Way Out of No Way (1897 – 1940)
Tuesday, November 12, 8-9 p.m.
Making a Way Out of No Way portrays the Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans left the South, fleeing the threat of racial violence, and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West.
Episode Five: Rise! (1940 – 1968)
Tuesday, November 19, 8-9 p.m.
Rise! examines the long road to civil rights, when the deep contradictions in American society finally became unsustainable. Beginning in World War II, African Americans who helped fight fascism abroad came home to face the same old racial violence. But this time, mass media — from print to radio and TV — broadcast that injustice to the world, planting seeds of resistance.
Episode Six: It’s Nation Time (1968 – 2013)
Tuesday, November 26, 8-9 p.m.
After 1968, African Americans set out to build a bright new future on the foundation of the civil rights movement’s victories, but a growing class disparity threatened to split the black community in two. As hundreds of African Americans won political office across the country and the black middle class made unprecedented progress, larger economic and political forces isolated the black urban poor in the inner cities, vulnerable to new social ills and an epidemic of incarceration.