NEH supported the production of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, a comprehensive six-part television series featured on PBS. The documentary series charts African-American history from the early slave trade to the election of President Barack Obama. Along with six African-American historians, Henry Louis Gates Jr. (who directed the series) analyzes 500 years of black history and explores new perspectives on the meaning of being black in America today. The series delivers a complex narrative through interviews with historians and public figures, as well as through the study of artwork, photography and other primary sources, many of which depict the early years of enslavement.
On The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross website, teachers can find lesson plans, viewers can watch additional video content, and Americans can upload their stories and their ancestors’ stories in an extensive, moderated forum. Viewers can also look through and download a collection of African-American quotation posters through the Share History page, as well as explore partner content, like PBS SoCal’s website highlighting African-American history in southern California.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross aired on PBS on Tuesday nights from October 22nd to November 26th. The series will be re-broadcast by many affiliate stations across the country in recognition of Black History Month.