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New PBS Series Spans 500 Years Of African-American History

Gates (left) interviewed Gen. Colin Powell and other influential African-Americans for his new PBS series

Anisfield-Wolf jury chair Henry Louise Gates Jr. has been busy the past few months, filming episodes of his new PBS series, “The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.” The six-part documentary will cover more than four centuries of African-American history, starting with the origins of slavery in Africa and moving to the present day.

Leading up to the series premiere, Gates has written a weekly column for, “100 Amazing Facts About the Negro,” in which he uncovers little-known tidbits about African-American history.

“Over the past 500 years, our ancestors in this country have been as stubborn, determined, idiosyncratic, individualistic, argumentative and complex as the 42 million African Americans living today are,” Gates wrote in the inaugural column.

“Many Rivers To Cross” will premiere Tuesday, October 22 at 8:00 p.m. EST. A new hour-long episode will air each Tuesday until the finale on November 26.

Follow Gates on Twitter and Facebook, as he has been giving occasional behind-the-scenes peeks at filming locations and subjects.

  • Willie Rogers

    November 5, 2013

    There have been many things that has touched me, as an African-American man. But the episodes, 2 & 3, of this series has impacted me far more than “Roots” of the 1970’s did. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 60’s. I was 14 years old on September 15, 1963. I grew up a few miles, 4 or 5 miles, from Denice McNair’s family. I lived the boycotts, and the brutality that was the city of “Bull Connor’s Birmingham””. This series opened wounds that have been festering for many years. Caused many tears.

    Thank you Mr. Gates, and all of the sponsors responsible for opening this story to the consciences of all Americans, and more.

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