The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the first documentary film series to chronicle the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent, through the arrival of black conquistadors in North America in the 1500s, to the disembarking of twenty slaves in Virginia in 1619, and onward -- through almost four hundred subsequent years of historic events to 2008, when Barack Obama became the United States' 44th President.

Many Rivers to Cross takes viewers on an engaging journey across the continents and centuries to shed new light on the experience of being African American.  The film demonstrates that the road to freedom for black people in America was not linear, but more like the course of a river, full of loops and eddies, slowing, and (often suddenly) and at times, reversing. African American history encompasses multiple locations and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.

WHRO, with support from WNET New York Public Media, hosted a free professional development workshop for local educators. Educators may continue to find associated classroom resources on The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS website.

WHRO also produced two segments that highlight important African American history in Hampton Roads. The First Africans inVirginia and The Contraband Movement both won 2014 Telly Awards and may be viewed below.



Community Partners

- National Park Service
- Hampton History Museum
- Hidden Heritage Education
- Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies
- Norfolk State University
- The Sankofa Projects
- Colonial Williamsburg