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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inkwell Films and THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with Ark Media which are solely responsible for its content.

Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.

Using video clips from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, this collection of lesson plans addresses a wide range of themes of the African-American experience from 1500 to the present.

African American Quotation Posters


Media Gallery

African American Quotation Posters

This media gallery includes posters that can be displayed in the classroom and used to launch discussions around the themes in The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

  • Grades: 7-13+
  • Views: 825
  • Downloads: 483
  • Favorites: 20
The African-American Migration Story


Interactive

The African-American Migration Story

This interactive resource from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross traces African American history through the lens of migration routes.

  • Grades: 7-13+
  • Views: 733
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 34
Successes and Failures in Resistance to Slavery


Lesson Plan

Successes and Failures in Resistance to Slavery

In this lesson from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, learn about runaway slaves who fled to St. Augustine, Florida and were granted freedom by the Spanish for political reasons.

  • Grades: 6-10
  • Views: 328
  • Downloads: 1
  • Favorites: 19
The Evolution of Slavery in Colonial Virginia


Video

The Evolution of Slavery in Colonial Virginia

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross traces evolution of slavery in Colonial Virginia through the life of Anthony Johnson, an African American who lived in Jamestown.

  • Grades: 7-12
  • Views: 376
  • Downloads: 6
  • Favorites: 16
Harry Washington


Video

Harry Washington

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross describes the life of Harry Washington, a slave owned by George Washington at the beginning of the American Revolution.

  • Grades: 7-12
  • Views: 222
  • Downloads: 2
  • Favorites: 12
Antebellum Agents of Change: Causes and Effects of Abolition


Lesson Plan

Antebellum Agents of Change: Causes and Effects of Abolition

In this lesson, students view clips from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and explore the concept of “cause and effect” as it relates to the abolition of slavery in the United States in the 1800s.  

  • Grades: 9-10
  • Views: 277
  • Downloads: 17
  • Favorites: 11
The Second Middle Passage


Video

The Second Middle Passage

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross shows the expansion of slavery in America from 1790 to 1860 and its impact on the lives of free black men.

  • Grades: 7-12
  • Views: 286
  • Downloads: 2
  • Favorites: 17
Images of African Americans


Video

Images of African Americans

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross examines the ways in which pro-slavery proponents defended slavery. 

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 155
  • Downloads: 2
  • Favorites: 10
Calculated Acts: Civil Disobedience and Social Change


Lesson Plan

Calculated Acts: Civil Disobedience and Social Change

In this lesson from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, students explore civil disobedience as a tool for social change, focusing specifically onthe Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case of 1896. 

  • Grades: 7-9
  • Views: 245
  • Downloads: 6
  • Favorites: 17
Forty Acres and a Mule


Video

Forty Acres and a Mule

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross explains the origins of the phrase “forty acres and a mule.”

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 283
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 7
The Struggle for the Vote


Video

The Struggle for the Vote

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross examines the political context of the African Americans’ struggle for the right to vote.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 167
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 11
Free but Not Free: Life After the Emancipation Proclamation


Lesson Plan

Free but Not Free: Life After the Emancipation Proclamation

In this lesson from The African American: Many Rivers to Cross, students explore the realities of life after the Emancipation Proclamation and learn about courageous individuals who fought against the inequalities African Americans experienced.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 295
  • Downloads: 7
  • Favorites: 15
Harlem in the 1920s


Video

Harlem in the 1920s

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross shows the changing neighborhood of Harlem in New York City during the 1920s. 

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 496
  • Downloads: 9
  • Favorites: 23
Music and Films of the Harlem Renaissance


Video

Music and Films of the Harlem Renaissance

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross explores the contributions of jazz and independent films to popular culture during the Harlem Renaissance.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 338
  • Downloads: 5
  • Favorites: 16
It Takes Courage to be Weak


Lesson Plan

It Takes Courage to be Weak

In this lesson from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, students begin by analyzing quotations about activism and social change, and rewriting them in their own words.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 2614
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 33
Selma, Alabama: The Role of News Media in the Civil Rights Movement


Video

Selma, Alabama: The Role of News Media in the Civil Rights Movement

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross examines the impact of media coverage on the 54-mile civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 234
  • Downloads: 8
  • Favorites: 9
Ella Baker and the SNCC


Video

Ella Baker and the SNCC

This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross tells the story of Ella Baker, the unsung hero of the civil rights movement. 

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 208
  • Downloads: 3
  • Favorites: 9
Many Currents: African American History Since the Civil Rights Movement


Media Gallery

Many Currents: African American History Since the Civil Rights Movement

This series of videos from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross explores the legacy of the civil rights movement on African Americans from 1968 to the present. 

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 367
  • Downloads: 1
  • Favorites: 11
Hutchinson’s Rebellion


Video

Hutchinson’s Rebellion

In this video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, examine Hutchinson’s rebellion (also known as the Stono rebellion), a slave revolt that started outside Charleston, SC, but ultimately failed.

  • Grades: 6-10
  • Views: 20
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 0
St. Domingue


Video

St. Domingue

Learn about the slave revolt in St. Domingue (now Haiti) that led to the world’s first black republic in this video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

  • Grades: 6-10
  • Views: 21
  • Downloads: 0
  • Favorites: 2