Culture

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Classroom | The Limits of Rights: Economic Injustice

4m 8s

Despite growing political power in the 1970s, African Americans continued to face daunting economic challenges made worse by the deindustrialization of their urban communities.

Episodes

  • Classroom | Black is Beautiful: Afrocentricity: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Black is Beautiful: Afrocentricity

    4m 42s

    Black Power helps create a new African American cultural identity which resonated throughout American culture. This video is an excerpt from Episode Six: A More Perfect Union (1968 – 2013), the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Fighting the Power: Hip Hop: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Fighting the Power: Hip Hop

    6m 47s

    Hip Hop gave voice to a new generation of African American youth disenfranchised from the American Dream enjoyed by a select few black celebrities.

  • Classroom| The Rise of the Black Middle Class: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom| The Rise of the Black Middle Class

    4m 46s

    New political gains like affirmative action combined with changing social attitudes to nurture a growing African American middle class, but the government continued to fear a more extreme black nationalism. This video is an excerpt from Episode Six: A More Perfect Union (1968 – 2013), the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Black Power: Demanding a Brilliant Future: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Black Power: Demanding a Brilliant Future

    5m 17s

    In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, the Black Panthers advocate armed resistance and self-sufficiency for African Americans. This video is an excerpt from Episode Six: A More Perfect Union (1968 – 2013), the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Casualties of the War on Drugs: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Casualties of the War on Drugs

    5m 12s

    President Reagan's "War on Drugs" fell disproportionally hard on black communities as new mandatory drug sentencing laws put a generation of young African Americans in prison. This video is an excerpt from Episode Six: A More Perfect Union (1968 – 2013), the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Rosa Parks: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Rosa Parks

    4m 1s

    Rosa Parks was a seasoned activist whose actions on the Montgomery bus were well planned. This video is an excerpt from Episode Five, Rise!, from the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Preparing for Sit-Ins: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Preparing for Sit-Ins

    3m 28s

    Non-violent passive resistance in the civil rights movement required much preparation and mental strength. Non-violence was a technique used to end segregation in America. This video is an excerpt from Episode Five, Rise!, from the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Ruby Bridges: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Ruby Bridges

    3m 28s

    In an act of desegregation, six-year-old Ruby Bridges’ entry into a formerly all-white school provoked outbursts of hatred that mobilized the movement. This video is an excerpt from Episode Five, Rise!, from the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Resenting Prosperity and Equality: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Resenting Prosperity and Equality

    6m 7s

    White people resented African Americans’ prosperity, and their alleged equality. This video is an excerpt from Episode Four, Making a Way Out of No Way, from the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Classroom | Separate and Unequal: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Classroom | Separate and Unequal

    6m 30s

    Learn about the efforts of lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston and writer Victor Hugo Green, both of whom fought for equality for African Americans. This video is an excerpt from Episode Four, Making a Way Out of No Way, from the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Extras + Features

  • Black is Beautiful: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Black is Beautiful

    S1 E6 - 3m

    Black pride is highlighted in the afro hairstyle, the Black is Beautiful message in advertising campaigns, and in Don Cornelius' music and dance program, Soul Train, which brought images of black youth to national television. Musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson believes Cornelius used the show's ads to promote Afro-centricity and that the show taught the important lesson of self-love.

  • Civil Rights Movement Leaders in Conversation: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Civil Rights Movement Leaders in Conversation

    S1 E5 - 1h 18m

    In an engaging conversation about the Civil Rights Movement, civil rights pioneers Rep. John Lewis, Georgia 5th District; journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault; and Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, look back and ahead with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. They also answer questions from the audience in a lively Q&A.

  • Rise! (1940-1968) - Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Rise! (1940-1968) - Preview

    S1 E5 - 30s

    Examine the long road to civil rights, when the contradictions in American society became untenable.

  • Ruby Bridges Desegregates a School: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ruby Bridges Desegregates a School

    S1 E5 - 2m 59s

    Six-year-old Ruby Bridges integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960, escorted by federal marshals. Six years earlier, the NAACP had won a major legal victory with Brown vs. the Board of Education. That case declared the doctrine of separate but equal schools was unconstitutional.

  • Racist Images and Messages in Jim Crow Era: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Racist Images and Messages in Jim Crow Era

    S1 E4 - 2m 25s

    Racist images in the Jim Crow era were used as propaganda to demean African-Americans and legitimize violence. A visit to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University in Michigan reveals racist memorabilia and messages in all forms, from kitchen items to postcards featuring public whippings. Learn more about the redefinitions of racial stereotypes in Episode 4, "Making a Way Out of No Way."

  • Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940) - Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940) - Preview

    S1 E4 - 30s

    During the Jim Crow era, African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans left the South, fleeing racial violence and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. At the same time, there was an ascendance of black arts and culture, such as The Harlem Renaissance.

  • Robert Smalls: A Daring Escape: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Robert Smalls: A Daring Escape

    S1 E3 - 3m 8s

    Robert Smalls was enslaved and working on a ship used by the Confederate forces during the Civil War. In a daring escape past Fort Sumter, he sailed the ship full of fellow crew members and their families to freedom. He delivered the ship to Union forces and served with the Union during the war before becoming a South Carolina Representative to Congress.

  • The Age of Slavery (1800-1860) - Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Age of Slavery (1800-1860) - Preview

    S1 E2 - 31s

    The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed 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. King Cotton fueled the rapid expansion of slavery into new territories, forcibly relocating African Americans into the Deep South.

  • The Cotton Economy and Slavery: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Cotton Economy and Slavery

    S1 E2 - 3m

    Many stakeholders benefited from the cotton economy that fueled slavery's expansion. It increased the number of slaves in America and led to cotton plantations spreading across the Deep South to Texas. As African Americans were uprooted from the Upper South to the Deep South, this created the second largest forced migration in America's history. Learn more in "The Age of Slavery," episode two.

  • Priscilla, a Slave: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Priscilla, a Slave

    S1 E1 - 1m 50s

    Priscilla was purchased at a slave auction in South Carolina by a rice planter, Elias Ball. She arrived on the Ball's rice plantation in 1756. In her time, South Carolina had more black slaves than it did white citizens. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. meets Edward Ball, the fifth great grandson of Elias, and tours the old plantation, discussing Priscilla and early slavery in the United States.

Schedule

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