The African Americans
Many Rivers to Cross

PBS
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6 videos in this collection

The Black Atlantic - 1500-1800
The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays…
The Age of Slavery - 1780-1860
What made cotton so desirable? In the 1790s Americas oldest crops, like tobacco, were depleting farmland and dropping in value. At the same time, the textile industry in Great Britain…
Into the Fire - 1861-1896
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…
Making a Way Out of No Way - 1897-1940
Racist images in the Jim Crow era were used as propaganda to send messages that demeaned African Americans and legitimized violence against them. A visit to the Jim Crow Museum…
Rise! - 1940-1968
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…
A More Perfect Union - 1968–2013
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…

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American Denial - The Truth is Deeper than Black and White
In his 1944 study of the 'Negro Problem' in America, Gunnar Myrdal posed a simple, disturbing question: How can Americans espouse a belief in liberty, equality and equal opportunity while enabling openly racist Jim Crow practices against black citizens? American Denial uses 'the Myrdal question' to probe and expose the…
The Black Fatherhood Project
In The Black Fatherhood Project, filmmaker Jordan Thierry leads viewers through an honest and essential exploration of fatherhood in Black America, providing historical context and conversation for an issue at the core of the Black experience today. Nationwide, 67 percent of Black children live in single-parent families, predominantly with their…
Making a Way Out of No Way - 1897-1940
Part of the Series: The African Americans
Racist images in the Jim Crow era were used as propaganda to send messages that demeaned African Americans and legitimized violence against them. A visit to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University in Michigan--home to the largest collection of racist memorabilia in the country--reveals racist memorabilia and messages…
A More Perfect Union - 1968–2013
Part of the Series: The African Americans
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…
A Question of Color - The Subconscious World of "Color Consciousness"
The first documentary to confront a painful and long taboo subject: the disturbing feelings many African Americans harbor about themselves and their appearance. African American filmmaker Kathe Sandler digs into the often subconscious world of "color consciousness," a caste system based on how closely skin color, hair texture and facial…
The Black Atlantic - 1500-1800
Part of the Series: The African Americans
The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on the North American shores. Soon afterwards, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade…
Skin Deep
For hundreds of years, human skin colour has been used as a marker of race. Now, science is uncovering the intricate relationship between skin colour and environment. When our ancient ancestors in Equatorial Africa lost their body hair and ventured out into the open savannah, their skin had to become…
W.E.B. Du Bois - A Biography in Four Voices
The long and remarkable life of Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963) offers unique insights into an eventful century in African American history. Born three years after the end of the Civil War, Du Bois witnessed the imposition of Jim Crow, its defeat by the Civil Rights Movement…
Fighting Back (1896 - 1917)
This episode illustrates the early rise of a successful Black middle class and the determination of white supremacists to destroy fledgling Black political power. The growing oppression had a profound effect on a professor at Atlanta University, W.E.B. Du Bois, and a teenage mail carrier named Walter White. Both would…
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Two Towns of Jasper
On June 7, 1998, three white men from Jasper, Texas, chained African-American James Byrd to a pick-up truck and dragged him until his body disintegrated. This powerful documentary takes you to the white and black communities as it records their separate reactions to the most vicious racially motivated murder in…