Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates Presents The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

In-depth Companion Book to the Highly Anticipated PBS Television Documentary

NEW YORK, Sept. 26. 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- "The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross is an eye-opener. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Donald Yacovone brilliantly recount the story of people of African descent in mainland North America across some five centuries with deep knowledge of the evolution of the African American experience and great sensitivity to its complexity. Few accounts better capture the changing texture of black life, as black men and women remade their society on new ground."

  Ira Berlin, professor, University of Maryland, and the author of Making African America: Four Great Migrations

"Never before with such a comprehensively rich and historically accurate narrative has the story of the African American experience been so thoroughly and vividly told. The nation is forever indebted to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald Yacovone."

  Tavis Smiley, Founder of SmileyBooks

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and American Research at Harvard University, and Donald Yacovone, research manager at Harvard University's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, will publish their collaborative effort based on the highly anticipated PBS documentary of the same name, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, October 1, 2013 (SmileyBooks ISBN: 978-1-4019-3514-6).

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, documentary series of the same name by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. airing Tuesdays, (October 22 - November 26, 2013 at 8pm ET/PT) on PBS. Remarkably, the series is the first of its kind since 1968 to chronicle cohesively 500 years of African American history. Detailing African Americans from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President.

"The story of African American people is the story of the settlement and growth of America itself. A universal tale that all people should experience," says Dr. Gates. "Since my senior year in high school, when I watched Bill Cosby narrate a documentary about black history, I've longed to share those stories in great detail to the broadest audience possible, young and old, black and white, scholars and the general public."

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, the book, explores a range of topics in even more detail than made possible in the television series. Dr. Gates examines many other fascinating topics such as the ethnic origins of both regional and cultural diversity of Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of African American people. It delves into the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious/social perspectives that African Americans have created in the half a millennium since their ancestors first arrived on the shores of America. Like the television series, this book guides readers on an engaging journey through the Black Atlantic world—from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States—to shed new light on what it has meant, and still means, to be an African American.

"We want to tell about the world they created, how they survived, and how they eventually thrived," Dr. Gates continues. "This isn't the history of George Washington. It's the history of his slave, Harry Washington. This isn't the story of 'American Bandstand.' It's the story of 'Soul Train.'"

Ultimately, the book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood and respected.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross will be released nationwide on October 1, 2013

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross includes:

  • Chapter 1: Africans in the Americas: 1500 – 1540
  • Chapter 2: The Worlds Slavery Made: 1526 – 1763
  • Chapter 3: The Age of Revolutions: 1700 – 1811
  • Chapter 4: Half Slave, Half Free: 1797 – 1858
  • Chapter 5: The War To End Slavery: 1859 – 1865
  • Chapter 6: Reconstruction and Redemption 1865 – 1900
  • Chapter 7: The Nadir and The Renaissance: 1890 – 1940
  • Chapter 8: Rise! A People Emergent: 1940 – 1968
  • Chapter 9: From Black Power to The White House: 1968 – 2013


Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of 16 books, including Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513–2008 and Tradition and the Black Atlantic, and has made 12 documentaries, including Finding Your Roots, Black in Latin America, and Looking for Lincoln. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root, a daily online magazine. He is the recipient of 51 honorary degrees and numerous awards. In 1981, he was a member of the first class awarded "genius grants" by the MacArthur Foundation, and in 1998, he became the first African American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time's 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997, to Ebony's Power 150 list in 2009, and to Ebony's Power 100 list in 2010 and 2012. The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection of Professor Gates' essays, was published in 2012.

Donald Yacovone, research manager at Harvard University's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, earned his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School and has taught at Pitzer College, the University of Arizona, and Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He was an editor at the Black Abolitionist Papers project before becoming the senior associate editor at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where he founded and edited The Massachusetts Historical Review and organized many public history programs in the Boston area. An expert in Victorian manhood, the antislavery movement, and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, he has published six books, including Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion; A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens; and most recently, Lincoln on Race and Slavery, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Media Contact: Thysha Shabazz, Shabazz Communications, Inc., 757-450-3655, thysha@shabazzcommunications.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross



Books, Publishing & Information Services, Education, Higher Education, New Products & Services, African American

Need Help