Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking new six-part series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, premiering Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS. Written and presented by Professor Gates, the six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present.
500 YEARS OF HISTORY
Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Assalamualaikum (greetings continue)
Text overlay: THE WHOLE STORY
PG: Who were the slave traders?
Man #1: The slave traders were great warriors, strong men, chiefs.
Text overlay: TOLD FOR THE FIRST TIME
Woman #1: And here’s the cupboard that Sam hid in.
PG: An adult male got in here? He’d have to be desperate.
Text overlay: STORIES OF REAL PEOPLE
PG: As Charleston slept, Robert Smalls, a slave, plotted his escape aboard a ship. He’s elected to office just three years after the Civil war ends.
Man #2: Robert Smalls epitomizes America. To come from nothing and to be a success.
Woman #2: To be able to make that leap from this impoverished childhood to now being the wealthiest African American woman in America.
PG: Why would anybody be overwhelmed at a thirty-four roomed house? (Laughs)
Text overlay: THE RISKS THEY TOOK
Text overlay: AND THE MOUNTAINS THEY SCALED
Man #3: Are you prepared to take the oath senator?
President Obama: I am.
Colin Powell: My reaction was, “We did it.” Said we couldn’t and we did.
Woman #3: I had to be there. But I had to walk away from the throngs of people because the people that I felt the closest to…some of them couldn’t be there.
PG: I know.
Woman #3: I had my moment and then I went back and listened to the first black President take the Oath of Office.
Music begins to play
FROM THE MAN WHO BROUGHT YOU AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES AND FINDING YOUR ROOTS
Text overlay: COMES HIS MOST PERSONAL JOURNEY YET
PG: I tell my students I would have flunked slavery. How could you survive every day? And have hope? Build a family? Fall in love?
Text: THE AFRICAN AMERICANS MANY RIVERS TO CROSS with HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.
Text: COMING TO PBS IN OCTOBER