African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

T.S. Boykins

I was raised in very diverse Miami. My parents were raised in Mississippi and Alabama. My Mother made sure that I had a basic understanding of our history. When Roots was aired on television I was either 4 or 5. The first night, I sat in front of that tv and asked question after question. That was my introduction. I also have memories of my Mother calling me out of my room to watch old black and white footage of the Civil Rights movement on PBS. She told me several stories from her life in Alabama and stories from the lives of our ancestors. My father’s story was interesting as he grew up in Mississippi, but had a completely different experience. He said African-Americans had everything that they needed when he was growing up. He went into the military and was sent overseas. When he came back, the world had changed and he had a hard time understanding the Civil Rights Movement for a while. My parent’s experiences helped me to understand a lot about America’s history. It has always been very real to me. Never just a page in a school history book. PBS has played a very important role in educating me and now my children about our history. It is convenient. Now history repeats itself in my house as I am dragging my children in front of the tv to watch old video footage. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you PBS.