Magazine article Essence

10 Things We're Talking About

Magazine article Essence

10 Things We're Talking About

Article excerpt

1 HISTORY LESSON

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has built his legacy on the ability to connect race with ancestry. Now the Harvard professor is taking on a new objective with a six-part series on PBS called The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. "I wanted to create a resource that will tell the history of African-American people over 500 years. No one has [ever] tried to do that," says Gates.

The series has taken Gates two years to make-six if you count funding efforts. He interviewed 40 different historians as well as history makers like former Black Panther Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The show airs in one-hour episodes every Tuesday from October 22 to November 26 (check local listings for times), and viewers will journey with Gates as he details the complexities of our evolution as a race from Africa to slavery in the United States to the election of the first Black president.

Just like his famed Norton Anthology of African American Literature, Gates hopes this series will aide educators. "Right now it's very expensive and cumbersome to teach African-American history because there are so many resources." he says. "We have brilliant documentaries such as Eyes on the Prize and Slavery and the Making of America, but they deal with chunks of African-American history. This series is, in fact, a complete course in just one DVD."

2 progressive LEADER

Atima OmaraAlwala is the newly elected president of the Young Democrats of America. She is the first Black president in the 81-year history of the nation's largest youth-led partisan political organization.

PUT ON BLAST

Black Twitter is really making its mark in cultural conversations, turning the tables on Paula Deen with #PaulasBestDishes, sarcastically addressing the twerking controversy with #ABCReports and reminding Fast Company that it forgot to include Black women on its "25 Smartest Women on Twitter" list with #SmartBlackWomen.

4 TOUGH BREAK

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., will serve almost three years in prison for misusing campaign money, while his wife, Sandi, will serve a year for tax fraud. …

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