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New Documentary Series Explores the Black American Experience

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St. Louis, MO—September 15, 2022—Making Black America: Through the Grapevine is the latest series from the acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentarian, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The four-part series chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “white gaze.”  

It will air live October 4, 11, 18, 25, from 8–9 pm, and stream on and the PBS Video App for a limited time. Encore broadcasts of the series air Saturdays, October 9, 16, 23, and 30, at 1 pm on Nine PBS. 

The 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.  

Making Black America 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 the U.S. itself. In Making Black America, Gates joins in intimate conversation with Black thought leaders and community members, as well as interviews leading historians and other experts, to examine the many themes within the Black American experience.  

“It was profoundly meaningful to work on this series at a time in history when we’ve needed community more than ever,” says Gates, the film’s host, writer, and executive producer. “Through centuries of enslavement, segregation, repressive violence, and insidious structural traps, Black Americans shut out of the ‘American Dream’ did anything but fold. Instead, they created their own dazzling array of social, political, and economic spaces.  

Making Black America tells the story of these remarkable Black social networks and how they wove an interconnected web of opportunities and uplift for generations that continue to comfort and inspire,” says Gates. 

"Making Black America is not just about struggle. It's about the beauty, the love, the joy, and the laughter that African Americans created in spaces for us and by us,” says Stacey L. Holman, the series producer and director. 

Also in October, Nine PBS will air the new documentary Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom premiering October 4, and companion film Becoming Frederick Douglass on October 11, both executive produced by Academy Award-nominated Stanley Nelson with Lynne Robinson. Additionally, Love and Respect with Killer Mike, featuring Rapper Killer Mike’s respectful, straight talk with an eclectic mix of guests equally passionate about today’s issues, airs Sunday evenings beginning October 2. View all these offerings on Nine PBS and

Photo Caption: Host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chelsea Miller, Ras Baraka, Fab 5 Freddy & Mark Whitaker pose for a photo at the table during shoot at Weeksville for MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

For more information, contact: 
Sarah Brandt
Director of Communications  
(314) 512-9034