New Mexico PBS has co-hosted with our office a teacher professional development opportunity. The event is associated with an important new PBS series called “The African American: Many Rivers to Cross”.
This unique opportunity offered a historic overview of African American life that provided a cultural perspective for teachers along with useful lesson plans and materials designed for their classrooms. The first 50 teachers registered online received a $50 cash stipend to attend.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a six-part, six hour primetime PBS series scheduled for national broadcast beginning on October 22 and continuing weekly through November 26. It will be the first documentary film series to chronicle the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent, through the arrival of black conquistadors in North America in the 1500s, to the disembarking of twenty slaves in Virginia in 1619, and onward--through almost four hundred subsequent years of historic events to 2008, when Barack Obama became the United States’ 44th President.
Building upon existing research and drawing from recent scholarship, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will guide viewers on an engaging journey across continents and centuries to shed new light on the experience of being African American. Contrary to what is commonly thought, the road to freedom for blacks in America was not linear, but instead, like the course of a river, full of loops and eddies, with progress slowing (often suddenly) and at times, reversing. African American history encompasses multiple locations and venues, and must be viewed though a transnational perspective to be fully understood. NMPBS was one of only fifteen PBS stations in the nation to offer this teacher professional development opportunity.