Have you found PBS series like “Eyes on the Prize” and “The Civil War” excellent classroom resources to engage students in their history and the history that informs much of American literature? The new, six-hour series on Tuesdays, beginning October 22 — The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross — chronicles the full sweep of African-American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable historic events up to the present.
Presented and written by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the series draws on some of America’s top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources, guiding viewers on an engaging journey across two continents to shed new light on the experience of being African American. You can find a complete list of series offerings and watch a preview at WGBY’s website. And at the series’ website, you’ll find episode clips, Professor Gates’ 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro, downloadable posters, and a link to share your stories. The site also links you to PBS LearningMedia where you’ll find countless resources related to slavery and the history of African Americans. Here are just a few:
Looking for Lincoln Views on Slavery (Grades 5-8): In this lesson, students examine Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery and race as they evolved throughout his early life and throughout his presidency.
Finding Your Roots (Grades 8-12): This collection from the 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.offers media-rich resources on a range of topics including colonialism, immigration, migration, the history of jazz, the American civil rights movement, and slavery.
Examining Slave Culture and Resistance (Grades 9-13+): In this annotated image from A Biography of America, explore what Eastman Johnson’s painting of runaway slaves tells us about slave culture.