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An Engaging Journey Into The History of African Americans

Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking six-part series.  

6pm Friday AFRICAN AMERICANS: Many Rivers To Cross - Documentary - Professor Gates travels throughout the United States, taking viewers on an engaging journey through African-American history.

Written and presented by Professor Gates, the six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present — when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. Gates visits key historical sites, partakes in lively debates with some of America’s top historians and interviews living eyewitnesses.

African Americans Many Rivers To Cross

“The story of the African-American people is the story of the settlement and growth of America itself, a universal tale that all people should experience,” says Gates, director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University.

The series will take viewers across five hundred years and two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American. By highlighting the tragedies, triumphs and contradictions of the black experience, the series will reveal to viewers that the African-American community, which abolitionist Martin R. Delany famously described as “a nation within a nation,” has never been a uniform entity, and that its members have been actively debating their differences from their first days in this country.

America's earliest Africans
PBS
America's earliest Africans

Throughout the course of the series, viewers will see that the road to freedom for black people in America was not linear, but more like the course of a river, full of loops and eddies, slowing, and occasionally reversing the current of progress.

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