New Orleans, Louisiana. Negro dock worker and son. March 1943.

introducing the “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” blogging circle!

from october 22 to november 26, 2013, PBS is airing the latest Henry Louis Gates, Jr. special entitled “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.” tune into this blog and those listed for a recap of each week’s episode through the lens of a group of amazing african american genealogists and family historians. photo credit: library of congress.(1)

the project is ambitious.  how in the world is it possible to cover the history of African Americans in one six-part series?  it seems almost impossible, but Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has set out to do just that.

“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 — when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.”(2)

here’s the list of what each episode will cover.  click here for more detailed synopses.

  • Tuesday, October 22 – Episode One: The Black Atlantic
  • Tuesday, October 29 – Episode Two: The Age of Slavery (1800 – 1860)
  • Tuesday, November 5 – Episode Three: Into the Fire (1861 – 1896)
  • Tuesday, November 12 – Episode Four: Making a Way Out of No Way (1897 – 1940)
  • Tuesday, November 19 – Rise! (1940 – 1968)
  • Tuesday, November 26 – Episode Six: It’s Nation Time (1968 – 2013)


throughout the series, the african american genealogists and family historians listed below will weigh in on each week’s episode through the lens of their experiences as researchers, the stories of their ancestors, and the implications of the moments of African American history presented on family history research.  here’s the list of esteemed writers:

i am excited to see all the great commentary, stories, and content that will come out of this dynamic group.  remember to stay tuned here and to the others blogs for our weekly recaps 🙂


  1. “New Orleans, Louisiana. Negro dock worker and son.” March 1943. John Vachon.  Accessed October 15, 2013 via
  2. “About the Documentary.” The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Public Broadcasting System. Accessed October 15, 2013 via

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6 thoughts on “introducing the “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” blogging circle!”

  1. I think this is an interesting idea.

    I’ve also decided to post. I watched today and reposted something I did earlier. I think I will post an intro with links as the series goes on because some of mine will be recalling previous posts.

  2. Looking forward to the series. Had to tape the first episode as I’m having a few health issues this past week. Watching the first episode today. Hope to contribute a few posts myself either on Georgia Black Crackers or Conversations with My Ancestors or both of them.

  3. Pingback: who is nicka smith? » The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross – Episode Three – Transcending the Black Hole (1881-1899)

  4. Pingback: African Roots Podcast Episode #234 November 29, 2013 « African Roots

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