Through the Grapevine: Making Black America

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The latest documentary series by renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Making Black America: Through the Grapevine, highlights the vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience.

“For centuries, ‘the Grapevine’ has connected Black Americans in formal and informal networks not just as a way of communicating but of building and sustaining communities large and small,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the program’s host, writer and executive producer, said in a press release. “From churches to fraternal and sororal organizations to Black Twitter, this is the story of the making of Black America and how, in the making, a people did more than survive the onslaught of enslavement and segregation. They redefined America and its cultural gifts to the world. All of us are grateful to our partners at CPB and PBS for giving us the opportunity to explore this history and what it can teach us as we struggle to overcome the challenges of our times.”

Making Black America chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” The documentary series recounts the establishment of the Prince Hall Masons in 1775 through the formation of all-Black towns and business districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, destinations for leisure and the social media phenomenon of Black Twitter. Gates sits with noted scholars, politicians, cultural leaders and old friends including Charles M. Blow (journalist and commentator), Angela Davis (political activist, scholar and author), André Holland (actor), Fab 5 Freddie (hip-hop pioneer and visual artist), Jason King (chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), Killer Mike (rapper and activist) to discuss this world behind the color line and what it looks like today.

Over the course of four weekly episodes, the series takes viewers into an extraordinary world that showcases Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy, and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself.

Airdates

Tuesdays, October 4 through October 25, at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Episode One
October 4 at 9pm on ThinkTV16

As early as 1775, free Black people in the North and South built towns, established schools, and held conventions ─ creating robust networks to address the political, economic, and social needs of the entire Black community.

Episode Two
October 11 at 9pm on ThinkTV16

With the hopes of a multi-racial community dashed, African Americans turn within, creating a community that not only sustains but empowers. From HBCUs to Black businesses to the Harlem Renaissance to political organizations, Black life flourished.

Episode Three
October 18 at 9pm on ThinkTV16

To survive a period of economic cataclysm and global war, African Americans relied on informal economies, grassroots organizations and cultural innovations behind the color line to sustain themselves and dismantle the oppressive realities of Jim Crow.

Episode Four
October 25 at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Despite the gains of legal desegregation, all Black political and cultural movements – from Black Power to Black Twitter – continued to provide a safe space for a community riven by class, sexuality and generational divisions to debate, organize and celebrate.

Post expires at 10:30am on Wednesday October 26th, 2022