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Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s PBS Documentary Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise to Premiere Today


At an evening reception and screening hosted by the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation at the Times Center in Midtown Manhattan last night, major civic and civil rights figures celebrated the newest PBS series by Emmy and Peabody-award winning Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise.

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise is a two-part, four-hour documentary series hosted, executive produced and written by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The documentary will premiere on PBS stations nationwide on November 15 and 22, 2016 at 8/7c. Among the leading supporters of the event were the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation, in partnership with HooverMilstein and Emigrant Bank.

The launch event and public television series it celebrates couldn't be more timely. Even as the country is in the final months of its first African-American President's tenure, a searing schism has erupted between police and many of the communities they're tasked with protecting. At the same time, efforts to erode the Voting Rights Act threaten to reverse historic strides in equal access to our nation's democratic process.

Against the backdrop of such events, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise looks at the last 50 years of African-American history, charting the remarkable progress of our nation's African-American community but raising serious questions about the obstacles that remain. The series moves from the sanctified past of the civil rights movement to the complex, raw, conflicted present. Dr. Gates' program offers a fresh examination of key events and turning points in American race relations and black history over the last five decades, animated by viewpoints that have rarely been heard on television, ideas that are not often said out loud, and questions that many are afraid to ask.

The reception and screening was followed by a panel discussion with Rev. Calvin O. Butts III of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, academic and radio host Michael Eric Dyson and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Dr. Gates said: "How has the black community changed since the Civil Rights Movement?Since MLK died?How would you describe the tremendous progress we have made, but also the enormous challenges that far too many of us still face? How could this be the best of times and the worst of times for Black America?These are the questions that this series explores.We are at a crucial point in history, and with this series, I hoped to reflect on our recent past as a way of helping to devise ways to forge a better future.This series is a very personal one for me, one I'm glad to share with the PBS community, thanks to the generous support of the Milstein Foundation and so many others."

Mr. Milstein said: "We are honored to have played a role in the development of Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s compelling new documentary. Dr. Gates' programs cast light into our nation's history and experience and I firmly believe that the more we understand history, the more we understand each other. In these challenging times, there is nothing we as a society need more."

Also joining the Milsteins at the event were Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, President & CEO of WETA in Washington DC, the flagship public television station in the nation's capital, and Paula A. Kerger, the President & CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The new series is produced by Inkwell Films, McGee Media, Kunhardt Films and WETA. Additional support for Dr. Gates new series was provided by Bank of America; Johnson & Johnson; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Ford Foundation Just Films; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and public television viewers and PBS.

About the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation

The Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation takes on some of the most challenging issues facing the world today.The Foundation's strategic gifts, institutional leadership and hands-on involvement stimulate innovation, create efficiencies and produce results in seven core areas: Medical Research, Biotechnology & Science; Higher Education & Youth; History; Religious and Communal Organizations; Arts & Culture; Law Enforcement & Homeland Security; and Civic Engagement.

The Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation has served as primary sponsors of several landmark public television programs. In addition to Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, the foundation has underwritten Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s previous documentary series, 2013's Emmy and Peabody Award-Winning The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, as well as the critically acclaimed PBS series Shakespeare Uncovered, andSimon Schama's THE STORY OF THE JEWS and the Fate of the World.

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SOURCE Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation

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