Stanley Nelson’s Two Films: “Becoming Frederick Douglass,” and “The Murder of Emmett Till,”
and Nicole London’s “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” Also Added to the Channel
Arlington, VA – September 30, 2022 – Arriving this October on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel are four documentaries presenting key figures and events in American history. “Making Black America: Through The Grapevine,” is Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s newest four-part series highlighting the vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience. The program chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” Oscar-nominee Stanley Nelson’s “Becoming Frederick Douglass” is the inspiring story of how a man born into slavery became one of the most prominent statesmen and influential voices for democracy in American history. Nelson’s documentary “The Murder of Emmett Till,” prompted the justice department to re-open this case. It features interviews with Till’s mother, witnesses, friends and others who reveal how the inadvertent violation of a code of the South cost a Black teenager his life. Nicole London’s “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” is a rich and nuanced portrait of the woman known as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery.
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“Making Black America: Through The Grapevine”
Streaming Date: October 24, 2022
This documentary 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. Gates sits with noted scholars, politicians, cultural leaders and old friends including Charles M. Blow (journalist and commentator), Angela Davis (political activist, scholar and author), André Holland (actor), Fab 5 Freddie (hip-hop pioneer and visual artist), Jason King (chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), and Killer Mike (rapper and activist) to discuss this world behind the color line and what it looks like today.
“Becoming Frederick Douglass”
Streaming Date: October 11, 2022
Born in 1818 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and went on to become the most well-known leader of the abolitionist movement. A gifted writer and powerful, charismatic orator, it is estimated that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other 19th-century figure, Black or white. The documentary explores how Douglass controlled his own image and narrative, embracing photography as a tool for social justice, and the role he played in securing the right to freedom and complete equality for African Americans.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mamie Till Mobley
American Experience “The Murder of Emmett Till”
Streaming Date: October 3, 2022
Director Stanley Nelson takes viewers back 65 years to August 1955, when a 14-year-old African American boy whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when on August 28 two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head. Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterward, the defendants sold their story, including a detailed account of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world and helped mobilize the Civil Rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began. The film uncovered new eyewitnesses to the crime and helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen the case.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alamy
“Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom”
Streaming Date: October 4, 2022
Born in Dorchester County, Maryland—2022 marks her bicentennial celebration—Tubman escaped north to Philadelphia in 1849, covering more than 100 miles alone. Once there, she became involved in the abolitionist movement and, through the Underground Railroad, guided an estimated 70 enslaved people to freedom. She would go on to serve as a Civil War scout, nurse and spy, never wavering in her pursuit of equality. Featuring more than 20 historians and experts and grounded in the most recent scholarship, the film goes beyond the standard narrative to explore what motivated Tubman, including divine inspiration, to become one of the greatest freedom fighters in our nation’s history. Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor Alfre Woodard narrates.
Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in October:
Rebuilding Notre Dame (NOVA) – 10/5
Tutwiler – 10/7
Computers v Crime (NOVA) -10/12
Rising Against Asian Hate: One Day in March – 10/17
Michael Flynn’s Holy War (FRONTLINE) – 10/18
Running with the Beest (NATURE) – 10/19
Can Psychedelics Cure? (NOVA) – 10/1
Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes – 10/21
Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes (FRONTLINE) – 10/25
Ocean Invaders (NOVA) – 10/26
Canada: Surviving the Wild North (NATURE) – 10/26
Ancient Roads from Christ To Constantine – 10/29
Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World – 10/31
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The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is a DTC-SVOD channel exclusive to Prime Video. This channel features over 1,500 hours of the highest quality factual programming, including the full catalog of films from Ken Burns and award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, in addition to programming from other independent producers.
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PBS Distribution offers consumers and educators the highest quality factual, scripted, and children’s programming including films from Ken Burns, hit series from MASTERPIECE and foreign language dramas from Walter Presents, entertaining and educational PBS KIDS series, and award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and many independent producers. For over 10 years, the company has extended the reach of programming beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system, stations, and producers.