The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (PBS)
Five years in the making, this extraordinary six-part documentary is the fullest television account of African Americans’ history. “When in the history of humankind has an enslaved people revolutionized the way the people who enslaved them ate, drank, believed, the way Africans did in America?” food historian Michael Twitty asks host and co-executive producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Many Rivers to Cross illustrates that phenomenon and much more. Gates, a distinguished author and Harvard professor, is a thoughtful, personable on-air guide. He is equally at ease interviewing men in Sierra Leone whose ancestors sold their fellow Africans into slavery as he with white descendants of slave owners in South Carolina. Gates and his cohorts sift through five centuries of artifacts to find stories that inspire, unsettle, surprise and illuminate. They revisit racism in colonial America, slave rebellions, the Civil War, emancipation, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and show us heroics both quiet and thunderous. For providing a history lesson that is remarkably accessible and intellectually rigorous, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. receives a Peabody Award.
Executive Producers: Julie Anderson, Dyllan McGee, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Peter Kunhardt. Senior Producer: Rachel Dretzin. Producers: Phil Bertelsen, Jahmilla Wignot, Sabin Streeter, Asako Gladsjo. Directors: Phil Bertelsen, Jahmila Wignot, Sabin Streeter, Asako Gladsjo.