The remaining three episodes of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s critically acclaimed PBS docu-series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which will air Tuesday November 12th, 19th and 26th at 8pm ET/PT on PBS. EPISODE 4: MAKING A WAY OUT OF NO WAY (1897-1940) – AIRING NOVEMBER 12, 2013 AT 8PM ET/PT During the Jim Crow era, 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 migrated away from the South, fleeing racial violence and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. Leaders like Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey organized, offering vastly different strategies to further black empowerment and equality.
Yet successful black institutions and individuals were always at risk. At the same time, the ascendance of black arts and culture showed that a community with a strong identity and sense of pride was taking hold in spite of Jim Crow. “The Harlem Renaissance” would not only redefine how America saw African Americans, but how African Americans saw themselves.
Clip #1: Racist Images in Jim Crow Era
Racist images in the Jim Crow era were used as propaganda to send messages that demeaned African-Americans and legitimized violence against them. The images and stereotypes used to represent African-Americans changed with the times. As historian David Levering Lewis explains, white America’s representations of African-Americans were quite different before and after the Civil War. (hit NEXT above or below for next show and video clip)
EPISODE 5: RISE! (1940-1968) – AIRING NOVEMBER 19, 2013 AT 8PM ET/PT
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.
And the success of black entrepreneurs and entertainers fueled African-American hopes and dreams. In December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, heralding the dawn of a new movement of quiet resistance, with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its public face.
Before long, masses of African Americans practiced this nonviolent approach at great personal risk to integrate public schools, lunch counters and more. As the civil rights movement scored one historic victory after another, non-violence was still all too often met with violence — until finally, enough was enough. By 1968, Dr. King, the apostle of non-violence, would be assassinated, unleashing a new call for “Black Power” across the country.
Clips #1: Ruby Bridges Interview, School Integration:
Ruby Bridges was the first African American to attend William Frantz Elementary School in 1960 in New Orleans.Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzuS8CI-sSI
EPISODE 6: A MORE PERFECT UNION (1968/013) – AIRING NOVEMBER 26, 2013 AT 8PM ET/PT
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 Black poor in the inner cities, vulnerable to new social ills and an epidemic of incarceration.
Yet African Americans of all backgrounds came together to support Illinois’ Senator Barack Obama in his historic campaign for the presidency of the United States. When he won in 2008, many hoped that America had finally transcended race and racism.
By the time of his second victory, it was clear that many issues, including true racial equality, remain to be resolved. Now we ask: How will African Americans help redefine the United States in the years to come?