Many Rivers to Cross: From Black Power to the Black President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-11-26 21:57Z by Steven

Many Rivers to Cross: From Black Power to the Black President

The Root

Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of History
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

In the sixth and final installment of his PBS series, Henry Louis Gates Jr. leads us from the black power movement to the historic election of Barack Obama.

Americans have notoriously short memories when it comes to race and history, especially black history. And it’s in that context that Harvard professor and The Root’s editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates Jr., has looked back through time to bring us The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, a six-part documentary film, airing on PBS, that concludes tonight and that has offered an important capstone to a year full of important civil rights anniversaries.

Over the past five weeks, the series has taken viewers to locations around the world to explore the origins of trans-Atlantic slavery, plumb the depth of America’s antebellum era and chronicle the exploits for black political, economic and cultural self-determination in the Civil War’s bloody aftermath.

And after watching this series, which is a timely corrective to contemporary discourse around race relations, all Americans will gain a better understanding of the way in which both the distant and recent past continue to shape and inform our national present…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

Posted in Barack Obama, Forthcoming Media, History, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2013-11-26 21:20Z by Steven

Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
Public Broadcasting Service
Tuesdays, 2013-10-22 through 2013-11-26, 20:00-21:00 ET

From Black Power to Black President

By 1968, the Civil Rights movement had achieved stunning victories, in the courts and in the Congress. But would African Americans finally be allowed to achieve genuine racial equality? Episode Six, A More Perfect Union (1968-2013), looks at the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rise of the Black Panthers and Black Power movement.  The decline of cities that African Americans had settled in since the Great Migration, the growth of a black middle class, the vicious beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and the ascent of Barack Obama from Illinois senator to the presidency of the United States are all addressed in the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Revisit images of the Black is Beautiful movement and hear commentary from former Black Panther Party member Kathleen Cleaver, former Secretary of State Colin H. Powell, musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and many more…

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brazil in Black and White

Posted in Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Videos on 2013-11-12 02:09Z by Steven

Brazil in Black and White

Wide Angle
Public Broadcasting Service

About the Issue

As one of the most racially diverse nations in the world, Brazil has long considered itself a colorblind “racial democracy.” But deep disparities in income, education and employment between lighter and darker-skinned Brazilians have prompted a civil rights movement advocating equal treatment of Afro-Brazilians. In Brazil, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery, blacks today make up almost half of the total population — but nearly two-thirds of the nation’s poor. Institutions of higher education have typically been monopolized by Brazil’s wealthy and light-skinned elite, and illiteracy among black Brazilians is twice as high as among whites. Now, affirmative action programs are changing the rules of the game, with many colleges and universities reserving 20% of spots for Afro-Brazilians. But with national surveys identifying over 130 different categories of skin color, including “cinnamon,” “coffee with milk,” and “toasted,” who will be considered “black enough” to qualify for the new racial quotas?

About The Film

“Am I black or am I white?” Even before they ever set foot in a college classroom, many Brazilian university applicants must now confront a question with no easy answer. Brazil in Black and White follows the lives of five young college hopefuls from diverse backgrounds as they compete to win a coveted spot at the elite University of Brasilia, where 20 percent of the incoming freshmen must qualify as Afro-Brazilian. Outside the university, Wide Angle reports on the controversial racial debate roiling Brazil through profiles of civil right activists, opponents of affirmative action, and one of the country’s few black senators.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

Left By the Ship

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos on 2012-05-26 14:36Z by Steven

Left By the Ship

Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service


Emma Rossi-Landi
Alberto Vendemmiati

 In the 1970s and 1980s, the world was touched by the stories of Amerasian children, the offspring of U.S. military personnel stationed in Asia and the Pacific in the aftermath of World War II, and during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Many of these children were born to impoverished prostitutes who worked on the outskirts of the American military bases, and left behind by their American fathers as soon as their deployment ended.

In 1982, the United States Congress passed the Amerasian Act to allow Amerasian children and their parents from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries, to relocate to the United States. One of the exceptions was the Philippines, where the United States military maintained active military bases into the 1990s (Japan was also left out of the legislation). Children of U.S. soldiers and Filipino citizens are not covered by the Amerasian Act — they have to be claimed by their American fathers to be permitted to claim a right to relocate or take advantage of the Child Citizenship Act, which gives citizenship rights to children of American citizens.

…An estimated 50,000 Amerasians live in the Philippines today. As in other Asian countries, these mixed-race young people (especially kids of African American servicemen) often face discrimination and are ostracized. Some were abandoned as infants, and many are teased for being “illegitimate” children of presumed prostitutes and fathers who abandoned them. They are routinely labelled “Iniwan ng Barko” (left by the ship)…

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , ,

Are You an Indian?

Posted in Anthropology, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Videos on 2012-03-02 02:13Z by Steven

Are You an Indian?

Public Broadcasting Service
Independent Lens
Premiere Date: 2011-11-17
Duration: 00:05:25

Though their ethnicities are mixed, the Wampanoag take pride in their tribal heritage.

In this companion piece to the documentary film We Still Live Here—Âs Nutayuneân, Wampanoag tribal members discuss how their multicultural heritage both complicates and enriches their identities as Native American people.

Watch Are You an Indian? on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

Tags: , ,

Q&A with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. About Black Experience in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Social Science on 2011-08-22 21:20Z by Steven

Q&A with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. About Black Experience in Latin America

Black in Latin America
Public Broadcasting Service
April 2011

Gates discusses his new project in this interview from the PBS site.

First, could you talk a little bit about this project?

I conceived of this as a trilogy of documentary series that would mimic the patterns of the triangle trade. There would be a series on Africa which was called Wonders of the African World in 1999. And then there would be a series on black America called America Behind the Color Line in 2004. And then the third part of the triangle trade was, of course, South America and the Caribbean. The triangle trade was Africa, South America, and the continental United States and Europe. That’s how I conceived of it. I’ve been thinking about it since before 1999. But the first two were easier to get funding for. Everyone knows about black people from Africa, everyone knows about the black American community. But surprisingly, and this is why the series is so important, not many people realize how “black” South America is. So of all the things I’ve done it was the most difficult to get funded and it is one of the most rewarding because it is so counter-intuitive, it’s so full of surprises. And I’m very excited about it…

The series reveals how huge a role history can play in forming a nation’s concept of race. Although each of the countries you visited has its own distinct history, did you find any commonalities between the six countries with regard to race?

Yes, each country except for Haiti went through a period of whitening, when they wanted to obliterate or bury or blend in their black roots. Each then, had a period when they celebrated their cultural heritage but as part of a multi-cultural mix and in that multi-cultural mix, somehow the blackness got diluted, blended. So, Mexico, Brazil, they wanted their national culture to be “blackish” — really brown, a beautiful brown blend. And finally, I discovered that in each of these societies the people at the bottom are the darkest skinned with the most African features. In other words, the poverty in each of these countries has been socially constructed as black. The upper class in Brazil is virtually all white, a tiny group of black people in the upper-middle class. And that’s true in Peru, that’s true in the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s obviously an exception because it’s a country of mulatto and black people but there’s been a long tension between mulatto and black people in Haiti. So even Haiti has its racial problems…

…How do you feel the race experience differs between Latin American nations and the United States?

Whereas we have black and white or perhaps black, white, and mulatto as the three categories of race traditionally in America, Brazil has 136 kinds of blackness. Mexico, 16. Haiti, 98. Color categories are on steroids in Latin America. I find that fascinating. It’s very difficult for Americans, particularly African-Americans to understand or sympathize with. But these are very real categories. In America one drop of black ancestry makes you black. In Brazil, it’s almost as if one drop of white ancestry makes you white. Color and race are defined in strikingly different ways in each of these countries, more akin to each other than in the United States. We’re the only country to have the one-drop rule. The only one. And that’s because of the percentage of rape and sexual harassment of black women by white males during slavery and the white owners wanted to guarantee that the children of these liaisons were maintained as property…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

PBS series explores black culture in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Slavery, Social Science on 2011-04-24 04:27Z by Steven

PBS series explores black culture in Latin America


Jennifer Kay
Associated Press

MIAMI—On a street in a seaside city in Brazil, four men describe themselves to Henry Louis Gates Jr. as black. Flabbergasted, the Harvard scholar insists they compare their skin tones with his.

In a jumble, their forearms form a mocha spectrum. Oh, the men say: We’re all black, but we’re all different colors.

Others in the marketplace describe Gates, who is black and renowned for his African American studies, with a variety of terms for someone of mixed race—more of an indication of his social status as a U.S. college professor than of his skin color.

“Here, my color is in the eye of the beholder,” Gates says, narrating over a scene filmed last year for his new series for PBS, “Black in Latin America.” The first of four episodes filmed in six Caribbean and Latin American countries begins airing Tuesday. A book expanding on Gates’ research for the series is set for publication in July.

Throughout the series, Gates finds himself in conversations about race that don’t really happen in the U.S., where the slavery-era “one-drop” concept—that anyone with even just one drop of black blood was black—is still widely accepted.

The idea for the series stems from a surprising number: Of the roughly 11 million Africans who survived the trans-Atlantic slave trade, only about 450,000 came to the U.S. By contrast, about 5 million slaves went to Brazil alone, and roughly 700,000 went to Mexico and Peru. And they all brought their music and religion with them…

…New U.S. census figures are revealing how complicated and surprising conversations about race can be. For example, the number of Puerto Ricans identifying themselves solely as black or American Indian jumped about 50 percent in the last 10 years, suggesting a shift in how residents of the racially mixed U.S. territory see themselves…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,