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TV DIVAGAL! The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross – A Mom’s Review!

By   |   October 22, 2013   |   Entertainment

TV DivaGal’s mom, Dreena Dixon, gives her take on the new PBS special, The African Americans, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. on PBS.

The stress of dressing on the Amtrak and trying to catch a cab at the height of New York City’s 6:30 pm rush hour at Penn Station was quickly abated when I arrived at the Paris Theater on 58th Street and Fifth Avenue last Wednesday. It was quite exciting to be at the preview of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, written and hosted by famous professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Arriving with loads of luggage from my trip since my train was an hour late arriving to New York, my daughter, your DivaGal editor-in-chief Delaina Dixon, met me at my cab and proceeded to have me pose with her on the red carpet, which was the first treat of the evening. After the brief sponsors’, writers’ and producers’ speeches, the audience was treated to snippets from episodes one, four and six of the six-part series.

Chronicling the first African to come to America as a free man through our president’s second inauguration, the message of this uplifting tale of the contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans over the past 500 years┬á were clear, and as one viewer exclaimed, ΓÇ£I felt so empowered by the time I finished watching.ΓÇ¥

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross promises to be an impactful event that can be used by educators across the United States to tell the true stories of Africans in the new world. Tonight’s series begins with the first debunking of who were the first Africans to America. A full 100 years before the Jamestown landing of African slaves, a free black man named Juan Garrido joined Spanish explorers in search of the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Others followed him and served as guides to Spanish explorers.

A future episode concentrates on the era of the 1920s when Harlem became the mecca of artists, black and white. We also learn more about the Tulsa Riots that destroyed an entire thriving middle class African American community; how Marcus GarveyΓÇÖs movement inspired Pan-Africanism; and why the Great Depression affected African Americans more severely than whites in joblessness. The final clip of series six focused on President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States.

The second and third treat of the evening for me respectively was meeting Mr. Gates and taking a picture with him, and having my picture taken with legendary actress Ms. Ruby Dee. How gleeful it was to tell her of my daughter’s contributions to the world of entertainment.

Mr. Gates has certainly out done himself with these series. I say that because he has changed the lives of many African Americans, which includes mine, by shedding light on finding our ancestry as he did in the miniseries, African American Lives. This new series will no doubt do the same. His 2006 African American Lives series inspired me to find my African roots, which are from the Akan of Ghana, the Bamelike of Cameroon and the Yoruba of Nigeria. Thank you Mr. Gates; once again you are changing the lives of many.

photo credit: my baby girl!

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