Rise! The Road to Civil Rights (1940-1968). Full Episode

Desegregation, Non-Violence and Civil Rights

Rise! examines the long road to civil rights, when the deep contradictions in American society finally became unsustainable. Beginning in World War II, African Americans who helped fight fascism abroad came home to face the same old racial violence. But this time, mass media — from print to radio and TV — broadcast that injustice to the world, planting seeds of resistance. And the success of black entrepreneurs and entertainers fueled African-American hopes and dreams. In December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, heralding the dawn of a new movement of quiet resistance, with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its public face. Before long, masses of African Americans practiced this nonviolent approach at great personal risk to integrate public schools, lunch counters and more. As the civil rights movement scored one historic victory after another, non-violence was still all too often met with violence — until finally, enough was enough. By 1968, Dr. King, the apostle of non-violence, would be assassinated, unleashing a new call for “Black Power” across the country.

Production Credits | Available until 2/28/2014 | Restricted to U.S. & Territories
  • sirquedog

    I Thank God for the unselfish Men and Women back then. Today we can organize a crusade against drug pusher or inadequate education.
    As the sad saying goes…. “We have met the enemy and they are ours ….”

    • MIkey_Mula

      Men and Women today are conditioned to be selfish by the “Powers that Be” because keeping people divided is to keep people in control. They killed our leaders before we had a chance to truly change the way our people are educated. Since people in our community are either miseducated or uneducated it became easier for them to cause further destruction of the race with poverty and television.

  • MIkey_Mula

    They fail to talk about the miseducation that Blacks were/are receiving (Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson). One of the most critical parts of explaining why blacks are the way they are today, not mentioning the subliminal marketing blacks also receive in the media.

  • Joan_Savage

    The non-violence skills go back earlier. My dad told me about an unusual incident in a military garrison in WWII. I think it came from labor-organizing experience.

  • Dorian M

    I agree with all of you.. but something that I can admire about then is that blacks made it their business to change their own communities instead of just waiting for the government to do it for them. They understood the country they were living in, If they awaited for white America to do anything nothing would be accomplished. we would not have what we have today. Blacks today just talk about all the wrong in todays society and don’t do anything to help change or improve the conditions we now help put on ourselves…. along with society, television and more.

    • Beamer Beamer

      Wow, you are asserting black people just sit around complaining waiting for the government to solve our problems? Yes, this is the propaganda being sold these days, but don’t fool yourselves. While the media is selling blacks as one big ignorant, violent, no daddy having, welfare queen, lazy, food stamp card carrying rapping thug, there are far greater numbers of educated black people working to make a difference. Amazingly, you just don’t hear about them no do you?

      • Dorian M

        I am going by what i see the black people in my surrounding communities do… obviosly there are people making change.. but when you compare the unity to even. The 60s to now.. we don’t have it. Remember that unity and change we were making in our own communities was seen as a threat…the government used the drug industry to break black communities Down. Since the 70s to be honest black america hasnt been the same…

  • 6MIXX


    • Bentz

      African-American History doesn’t go beyond 500 years. Seems like you’re the one who doesn’t know about your history.

      • 6MIXX

        there is no such thing of an african american, apparently you don’t know your geography. there are 56 countries on the continent of africa not one is america so spit that crap to un-informed blacks.

        • 6MIXX

          further more since it is world knowledge that the africa is the mother land of the human race, then how can africans history only be 500 years? i really dont expect you to reply with a factual, historical response.

          • Isis

            You flipped the script. African AMERICAN history is 500 years old. No one said that African history is the same age, anyone who can read knows that African history goes back to the dawn of humanity.

          • 6MIXX

            r u saying what i said is false? is there a country in africa called america?

          • JizzleDizzle

            Africans who are living in Africa are Africans (or Afrikans). Those who were transported forcefully/ moved freely to the U.S. are called African Americans.

          • 6MIXX

            america is not a country, america is a corporation.

          • 6MIXX

            africans who are living in america has a nationality america/can is not it

  • Thomas Duval

    African American Ancestral Obligation

    African Americans (AAs) owe a tremendous debt of gratitude
    to the previous generations hopes and efforts to bring a better day of
    opportunity to the next generation. All AAs owe the responsibility of researching and learning their culture and history so they can inform the future generations to lead a purposeful , moral life of achievement, and give something back to their respective
    communities. This is the ancestral obligation every AA should accept and pass on to their children.

    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 to develop positive self- esteem, to know their place in the world, 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 AA community. AA history must become an integral accepted part of the authentic history of United States to continue making a more perfect union. At-risk AA targeted educational motivational strategies that do not include ancestral obligation are doomed to failure. American history that does not significantly include the contribution of AAs is incomplete and non-authentic.

    Thomas Duval DDS, MPH

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a film by Kunhardt McGee Productions, THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Inkwell Films, in assocation with Ark Media.