PBS Will Air "Driving While Black" Documentary on October 13Historians in the News
tags: film, racism, travel, African American history, documentaries, Green Books
PBS announced TODAY DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA - a ground-breaking, two-hour documentary film by acclaimed historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Emmy-winning director Ric Burns - will air on PBS on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings).
Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences - at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming - of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond - DRIVING WHILE BLACK explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African AMERICAN EXPERIENCE for hundreds of years - told in large part through the stories of the men, women and children who lived through it.
Drawing on a wealth of recent scholarship - and based on and inspired in large part by Gretchen Sorin's recently published study of the way the automobile and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century (Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights (W.W. Norton, 2020) - the film examines the history of African Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring along the way the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America during one of the most turbulent and transformative periods in American history.
"Driving while Black," the writer/ scholar Herb Boyd says in the film, "entails so much more than the simply driving while Black. It's living while Black. It's sleeping while Black. It's eating while Black. It's moving while Black. So, when we start talking about the restrictions placed on Black movement in this country, that's a long history. That goes all the way back to day one. And so, you have to get to the root of it."
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