Episode Four: Making a Way Out of No Way

During the Jim Crow era, African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans migrated away from the South, fleeing racial violence and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. At the same time, there was an ascendance of black arts and culture, such as The Harlem Renaissance.

Making a Way Out of No Way is episode four of  the six-part series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., airing on PBS on November 12, 2013, 8-9 pm ET.  Check local listings on the broadcast schedule.




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  • Jason Gray

    I absolutely LOVE this series. It’s so informative and well presented. Props to Professor Gates and his crew for this masterful work.

  • Thomas Duval

    I finished Howard University with a BA degree in 1972 and a DDS in 1976. It was not until I was sixty six years old that I learned that General Oliver Otis Howard was part of the right wing of General Sherman’s march to the sea through Georgia. That march passed approximately one mile from where I live today.

    I have had several friends and colleagues express the notion that their children and some parents are “tired of slave movies”. These same friends complain about the toxic culture of poor academic achievement in the public school system. We have lost our AA community griots; many of those old wisdom story tellers have passed on, and the few that are left are not on Facebook. We desperately need historic documentaries like Many Rivers to cross. I have been producing short docudramas using green screen technology to have local students portray local AA leaders like William Sanders Scarborough and John Oliver Killens.

    AA adults and children must accept, learn, and embrace AA culture, and history to impart ancestral obligation to motivate AA youth to want to learn. At risk AA youth need this information for positive self- esteem and to be motivated to finish high school. Middle class high achieving AA youth need this knowledge to be inspired to give something back to their respective AA communities. For what John Donne, John Steinbeck, William E. B. Dubois, Booker T. Washington, and our beloved John Oliver Killens all knew was that we are all in the quest for a better life together. All American children need to know the AA diaspora, ancestral obligation is the key to AA educational motivation; our school bells really do toll for thee!
    Thomas Duval DDS, MPH
    Macon, Georgia

    • mariah asphalt

      The jews say “Never Forget!” Blessings on you.

    • roberta lee

      I firmly believe the study of history can open the young mind to be encouraged to learn more then be applied to the present, I like PBS as you can gather college material out of the classroom and free of cost by their wonderful eye-opening programs if you want to enjoy and share learning . I don’ t even do teevee much myself anymore really , but Frontline and PBS are worth the watch! The war on drugs with it’s separate and unequal sentencing for whites and blacks is very telling, also breaking up families, putting kids into rotten foster care homes doesn’t give the most intelligent minds of the very young incentive or stability to excel in studies to benefit them for the pleasure of learning for personal use or economic use, I firmly believe the U S A is in a decline at this time promoting degenerate behaviors crossing all color, ethnic and financial background lines. The study of social history of minorities in the U S A can help understanding of our present day dilemmas concerning social injustice, I also think young people should be made aware of propaganda such as these two clear examples of how the power of words influence ideas or thoughts such as “The Cavalry won the Campaign!” then read this “The Indians waged a Massacre!” ,well this is classic propaganda…..you get it! I do like learning myself and sharing with others!

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