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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

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Presented and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., this six-hour series guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans. The series encompasses five centuries of events, visits key sites, and engages in debates with historians and eyewitnesses like school integration pioneers Ruby Bridges and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Black Panther Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Class disparity threatens to split the black community in the late 1960s; economic and political forces isolate the black urban poor; many issues remain unresolved, despite the election of America's first black president in 2008.
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Blacks returning from World War II continue to face racial violence on the homefront; Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a city bus in 1955; Martin Luther King Jr. promotes a nonviolent approach to integrate blacks and whites.
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Blacks search for opportunities in the North and the West; black arts and culture grow in spite of Jim Crow.
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Blacks flee plantations to serve in the United States Colored Troops; after emancipation, blacks seek economic, political and civil rights.
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Black lives change dramatically following the American Revolution; individuals including Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen and Frederick Douglass push the issue of slavery to the forefront of national politics.
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The earliest Africans, both slave and free; the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South; freedom movements abound in the late 18th-century.

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