* required
  • I agree to the submission terms and conditions

    For good and valuable consideration, receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, You hereby grant to THIRTEEN Productions LLC ("THIRTEEN") the irrevocable right to incorporate your submission (the "Work"), in whole or in part, into The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross including companion materials and ancillary platforms (collectively, the "Project"). THIRTEEN may use and license others to use any version of the Project and excerpts and outtakes therefrom in all manner and media, now known or hereafter devised, worldwide without limitation as to time. The foregoing rights shall include the right to use the Work and details or excerpts therefrom for Project packaging and for outreach, Project and institutional promotion, and publicity purposes.

    You represent and warrant that you are 13 years of age or older and, if you are under the age of 18, you either are an emancipated minor, or have obtained the legal consent of your parent or legal guardian to enter into this Release and fulfill the obligations set forth herein, which forms a binding contract between you and THIRTEEN. You further represent that you possess or have obtained the rights in the Work necessary for the grant of this license to THIRTEEN.

    You agree to indemnify, defend and hold THIRTEEN, its licensees and assigns, and the Project underwriters harmless from and against any and all claims, damages, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses, arising out of THIRTEEN's use of the Work in its broadcast, exhibition, distribution, exploitation, publication, promotion or other use of the Project as provided for in this Release and/or out of any breach or alleged breach of the foregoing warranty.

George Geder

When I was in junior high school, my English teacher taught us about capitalizing proper names. French with a capital ‘F’; Irish with a capital ‘I’; German with a capital ‘G’, and so on. When it came to me, Mrs. Ahearn noted Negro with a capital ‘N’.

The school bell rings and we go to History class. My classmates and I encounter a similar lesson plan but focused around geography. I was called to the blackboard and chalked ‘Negro’. Mrs. Shenton admonished me stating that ‘negro’ is NEVER capitalized.

“There is no such country as ‘Negro’. Do you know what country your family comes from? Since you don’t know, you are only a ‘negro’ and it is not to be capitalized – in spite of what you may have been told in English class.”

In the third grade, in this same school, we were reading, aloud, from ‘Little Black Sambo’, one of the most racist children’s book that you can imagine. My mother quickly got that book out of the classroom and out of the Binghamton, New York school curriculum. Those are only a couple of the educational challenges I confronted in the 1950s and 1960s.

Early on I learned that evil towards my people was being taught in the schools that I attended. I couldn’t rely on my teachers to tell me the truth about my Ancestors and my peoples. I couldn’t trust the professors and historians to be honest with my history.

I do put my faith in genealogists and family historians. These folks are the ‘New Guards’ of African Ancestored research. As they scour the record books, census records, obituaries, and news clippings, a new narrative, a new truth, emerges of what happened to my people. And I trust them.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in the first episode of ‘Many Rivers To Cross’, has successfully raised the tenor of the questions we must ask to learn about our people, our history, our culture.