Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 9:00pm - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 11:00pm

At a vigil on the New Haven Green Tuesday, Aug. 26, 1970 supporters raise their fists chant "Free Lonnie Mclucas". Mclucas, a Black Panther, is being tried in the courthouse directly behind and across the street from the speakers platform. He is charged in connection with the death of a fellow Panther last year.  Photo courtesy of AP Photo.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo.

In Black America Since MLK, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. looks at the last 50 years of African-American history — from Dr. King to Barack Obama, from James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” to Beyoncé’s “Formation” — charting the remarkable progress black people have made, and raising hard questions about the obstacles that remain. Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, a two-part, four-hour documentary series hosted, executive produced and written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., airs over two days, Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

The series begins at the point where the story we Americans tell about ourselves becomes complicated. Almost every schoolchild today learns about the civil rights movement — about how our nation moved itself forward, against the will of many, out of a shameful past. Yet what has happened since?  And here, the series steps out of the sanctified past and into the complex, raw, conflicted present. Today, Barack Obama sits in the White House and African Americans wield influence in every domain, from business to academia to the arts. At the same time, black people are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites and face financial inequality, while whites now have 13 times the wealth of blacks. Many of our schools and neighborhoods are more segregated than they were in 1965, and police killings of unarmed black men in places like Ferguson, Baltimore and Baton Rouge recur with tragic frequency — inspiring radically different responses within black and white communities. How did we end up here, when half a century ago racial equality seemed imminent — even inevitable?

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