The newest PBS series by Emmy and Peabody-award winning Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise” – a two-part, four-hour documentary series – premiered its first half last week Tuesday night, November 15, 2016; and the second half aired tonight, November 22. Both parts are now available to watch online (for free) and are embedded below.
Gates Jr., who hosts, executive produces and writes the series, embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today, asking profound questions about the state of black America—and our nation as a whole.
The series couldn’t be more timely, given recent events.
“Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise” looks at the last half century of African American history, charting the remarkable progress of our nation’s African-American community but raising serious questions about the obstacles that remain. The series moves from the sanctified past of the civil rights movement to the complex, raw, conflicted present. Dr. Gates’ program offers a fresh examination of key events and turning points in American race relations and black history over the last five decades, animated by viewpoints that have rarely been heard on television, ideas that are not often said out loud, and questions that many are afraid to ask.
Dr. Gates said: “How has the black community changed since the Civil Rights Movement? Since MLK died? How would you describe the tremendous progress we have made, but also the enormous challenges that far too many of us still face? How could this be the best of times and the worst of times for Black America? These are the questions that this series explores. We are at a crucial point in history, and with this series, I hoped to reflect on our recent past as a way of helping to devise ways to forge a better future. This series is a very personal one for me, one I’m glad to share with the PBS community, thanks to the generous support of the Milstein Foundation and so many others.”
The new series is produced by Inkwell Films, McGee Media, Kunhardt Films and WETA. Additional support was provided by Bank of America; Johnson & Johnson; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Ford Foundation Just Films; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and public television viewers and PBS.
Part 1 aired last week Tuesday, and part 2 aired tonight. If you missed either or both, watch them in full below: