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Tonight: Final Episode Of PBS' 'African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross' Covering 1968-2013

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 26, 2013 10:23 AM
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The 6th and FINAL episode of Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, airs TONIGHTTuesday, November 26th at 8pm ET/PT.

Titled A More Perfect Union, covering the years 1968 through 2013, tonight's episode explores...

... the new future African Americans sought, following the victories of the civil rights movement, but instead, ran into a growing class disparity that 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. Yet, African Americans of all backgrounds came together to support Illinois’ Senator Barack Obama in his historic campaign for the presidency of the United States. When he won in 2008, many hoped that America had finally transcended race and racism.  By the time of his second victory, it was clear that many issues, including true racial equality, remain to be resolved. Now we ask: How will African Americans help redefine the United States in the years to come?

I must admit that I haven't been keeping up with the series, but I've recorded them all (and will do the same with tonight's episode) so that I can watch on my own time, which won't be too long from now - likely over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Have you been watching? If so, your thoughts on all you've seen thus far...

Below, watch a sneak peek at tonight's final episode. For more information about the episode, visit:

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  • Martha Barkley | July 23, 2014 9:47 AMReply

    Carey, just watch the beginning and I bet you will want to watch it all. Gates questions the African descendants about how their families benefited from the slave trade. He drives with Ed Ball through the beautiful Lowcountry of SC to one of the Ball plantations, questioning the numbers of slaves owned on the many Ball plantations. Slaves in the Family a must read history. Isabel Wilkerson is interviewed about her ten years of research for Warmth of Other Suns. Martha

  • CareyCarey | July 23, 2014 10:33 AM

    We're gonna party like it's November 26, 2013!

    Hello Martha Barkley (not Charles Barkley's mother?),

    I see you've dug up an old treasure. Well, I'll have some of that... for two reasons. First, you've went out of your way with a personal invitation... I like that in you. Second, one of my favorite and respected S&A readers is Savannah Morgan who also considered this "must see". So now I am in a bit of a quandary... where can I find this?

  • Martha f. Barkley | November 29, 2013 2:22 PMReply

    The first three programs filmed all over the world on location were very revealing...beautiful Lowcountry scenes of plantation location with Ed Ball in the car...Isabel Wilkerson in episode four or five, Henry Louis Gates has asked all the questions of everyone...amazing, complete and non- judgemental...thank you PBS. Everyone can learn from this marvelously done series!

  • Eric Redding | November 26, 2013 8:49 PMReply

    Basically a political advocacy piece for Democrats and Barack Obama. The main theme: you must be racist if you don't support our black President. It's no wonder PBS is losing it's funding hand over fist.

  • Rocket | November 28, 2013 12:48 AM

    So a documentary that begins its story in the 1500's is about President Obama.

    Got it.

  • 21 | November 27, 2013 10:03 PM

    If that is the only thing you got out of this series maybe you should go back and watch ALL of the episodes. It was about way more than President Obama. If you can get past your own disdain and bias for our President maybe you can see the series for what it's about.

  • SAVANNAH MORGAN | November 26, 2013 11:04 AMReply

    Regardless of how folks may feel towards Skip Gates this has been a riveting DOCUMENTARY!! I've watched all the episodes and was inundated with a flood of emotions regarding our history and our tumultuous path to EQUALITY & HUMAN RIGHTS!


  • CareyCarey | November 28, 2013 1:17 AM

    Opps... not to be confused, I should have said Sergio doesn't particularly care for Skippy "I'm part Irish" Gates, and neithers do's I. My prior comment could have been read as if I didn't love me some Sergio. Heck, although he once threaten to lock me out of the forum, nothing could be further from the truth... cuz he's my hero :-)

  • CareyCarey | November 27, 2013 11:40 PM

    Savannah, I am in that crowd who has less love for Skip Gates than Sergio (I don't think he adores the man). But since you said it's must see entertainment, I'm gonna check it out. You know, we seem to see eye-to-eye on many issues - me think - so I'm all in.

    Was there any episode that particularly caught your interest or that you'd recommend if my time was limited?

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