America Beyond the Color Line with Henry Louis Gates Jr.
91FM's Radio Times looks at race:
- Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about his discovery of a 1850's handwritten manuscript that is one of the few books ever written by American slaves. [Listen]
- Being biracial - how it shapes views on race, discrimination and life in general. [Listen]
- Three of America's top black intellectuals talk about everything from race, religion to politics. [Listen]
Acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. examines black America in the 21st century in AMERICA BEYOND THE COLOR LINE WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., a series of four one-hour films.
AMERICA BEYOND THE COLOR LINE chronicles Gates' travels to four disparate regions of the United States to read the barometer of contemporary black America at the start of a new century. Thirty-five years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shook the Civil Rights movement in 1968, Gates sets out to discover what has changed for African Americans socially, politically and economically. The series is Gates' second major television series for PBS, following the acclaimed WONDERS OF THE AFRICAN WORLD in 1999.
The four one-hour presentations include "South: The Black Belt," where Gates examines the region that was once the seat of the Civil Rights movement -- and the racism and legal segregation that prompted it -- to discover whether and how the south has changed for the vast number of blacks who have chosen to migrate back, including interviewees Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou.
In "Chicago: Streets of Heaven," Gates visits families struggling through the dire conditions of poverty in the south side's notorious Robert Taylor and Ida B. Wells Homes. He asks, given the vast increase of Chicago's black middle class, why such poverty, despair and crime still persist "like a parallel universe" for so many blacks in that city. The Reverend Jesse Jackson offers insight in this segment.
"East Coast: Ebony Towers" highlights the success of a small group of African-Americans who have carved a niche in the otherwise white establishment of power and wealth. Interviews with Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines and chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley raise cogent points about the new black power elite and what it means for the overall progress of black Americans.
Gates goes behind the scenes in "Los Angeles: Black Hollywood" to find out what role race plays in the film industry, and how race determines and affects black power in Hollywood. Gates sits down with notable personalities such as Chris Tucker, Quincy Jones, Don Cheadle, Nia Long, Alicia Keys, Samuel L. Jackson and writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin to get perspective on the issue.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is currently W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities, Chair of Afro-American Studies and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. He is the author and editor of a long list of books, including: The African Century (2000), co-authored with Cornel West; The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts (2002); The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters With the Founding Fathers (2003); and Wonders of the African World, the companion book to the PBS series of the same title.