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Making Black America: New Black History Documentaries to Watch This October

PBS has announced the release of four new documentaries that will premiere during the month of October.

PBS has announced the release of four new documentaries that will premiere during the month of October, all of which highlight Black history and experiences.


Released October 3 on the PBS Prime Video Channel, American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till takes viewers back to August 1955, when Black teenager Emmett Till was wrongfully murdered in the Jim Crow South after allegedly whistling at a white woman. His white killers were acquitted by an all-white jury, before selling a detailed account of how they committed the murder to journalists afterwards. Director Stanley Nelson has uncovered new eyewitnesses to the crime, prompting the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen the case.

Two projects release on October 4, the first being Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom. Documenting the life and achievements of the historic abolitionist, the film features over 20 historians and is narrated by Emmy Award-winner Alfre Woodard. The documentary "goes beyond the standard narrative to explore what motivated Tubman, including divine inspiration, to become one of the greatest freedom fighters in our nation’s history."

The second project releasing October 4 is Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr’s newest docuseries, Making Black America: Through the Grapevine. The series highlights the "vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience," and "chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” Gates sits with cultural leaders such as Angela Davis and Charles M. Blow to discuss the formation of all-Black towns and Universities, and how they stand in society today.

The last documentary releases October 11, and follows the life of abolitionist and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass. Becoming Frederick Douglass will show how the orator went from escaping slavery to becoming one of the most gifted writers of the 19th century. The film "explores how Douglass controlled his own image and narrative, embracing photography as a tool for social justice, and the role he played in securing the right to freedom and complete equality for African Americans."

The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99/month with an Amazon Prime subscription. All proceeds support public television and access to information for all.

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