Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. had a story to tell. A 500-year story to be exact. He wanted to cover in reasonable depth the whole sweep of black history until today. Working with fellow historians, Gates weaved together over 500 stories into one documentary series exploring African American history. This six-part series titled “The African Americans—Many Rivers to Cross” is an insightful piece of artwork that everyone should take the time to watch.
The program starts with Juan Garrido, a free black man whose 1513 expedition with Spanish explorers in Florida made him the first known African to arrive in what is now the United States, and ends with Barack Obama in the White House in 2013, a time of complexity and contradictions for black Americans.
So after you rant about the results of the Superbowl on Twitter and finish off the last bag of Tostitos with Salsa and Guacamole, take the time to kick off African American History Month the right way. Educate yourself on 500 years of black history.