Still from trailer "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 through five centuries of historic events right up to present day -- when America has a black President, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. It explores the origins of the people from Africa whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have developed against unimaginable odds. All of these elements define black culture and society in its extraordinarily rich and compelling diversity from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the White House. Hosted by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and drawing on some of America's top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources, the series guides viewers on a journey across 500 years and two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American.

Upcoming Airdates

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 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.

  • 2020-06-01T05:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

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 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 urban poor in the inner cities, vulnerable to new social ills and an epidemic of incarceration.

  • 2020-06-02T05:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD