The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Survey the full sweep of African-American history with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


  • Rise! (1940-1968)

    The long road to civil rights is examined in episode five.
  • Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)

    Examine the Jim Crow era when African Americans struggled in the confines of segregation.
  • Into the Fire (1861-1896)

    The Civil War, the end of slavery and Reconstruction's impact on African American history.
  • The Age of Slavery

    See how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution.
  • The Black Atlantic

    Explore the global experiences that created the African-American people.


  • Classroom | Black Power: Demanding a Brilliant Future

    After Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, the Black Panthers advocated armed resistance.
  • Classroom | Casualties of the War on Drugs

    President Reagan's "War on Drugs" fell disproportionally hard on black communities.
  • Classroom | The Limits of Rights: Economic Injustice

    Daunting economic challenges were made worse by the deindustrialization of urban areas.
  • Classroom | Yes We Can: Barack Obama

    Barack Obama's election to the presidency exemplifies changing attitudes about race.
  • Classroom| The Rise of the Black Middle Class

    Affirmative action paired with changing social attitudes to nurture a black middle class.
  • Classroom | Preparing for Sit-Ins

    Non-violent passive resistance required much preparation and mental strength.
  • Classroom | Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks was a seasoned activist who planned her action on a Montgomery bus.
  • Classroom | Ruby Bridges

    Six-year-old Ruby Bridges’ entry into a formerly all-white school provoked outbursts of ha

About The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.