'Tis the season to celebrate and remember all things African-American, and Rocky Mountain PBS is going full speed ahead with its premiere of African American Lives 2, a new four-part series building on the momentum of 2006's African American Lives. Featuring such notable Americans as Maya Angelou, Bliss Broyard, Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman, Peter Gomes, Kathleen Henderson, Linda Johnson Rice, Tom Joyner, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Chris Rock and Tina Turner, the first episode examines the participants' ancestors in the early twentieth century.
If you know anything about how the black population was treated during those years, then you already know this episode "The Road Home" won't be all sunshine and rainbows. The stories told include the account of Tom Joyner's great-uncles, who were convicted by an all-white jury in 1915 and executed in the electric chair for a crime that, according to new evidence, they most likely did not commit. Bliss Broyard discusses the life of her father, New York Times critic Anatole Broyard, who was light-skinned and chose to "pass" as white; Broyard only discovered her African-American roots when her father died in 1990. The episode might not leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but you'll gain a greater understanding of the issues African-Americans have faced throughout their history.
As part of the African American Lives series, RMPBS will help one African-American citizen of Colorado trace his or her past using DNA. Participants can enter a drawing for an opportunity to receive a free DNA test; one name will be selected randomly, and the winner will be announced on March 5. Meanwhile, tune in tonight at 8 p.m. when African American Lives 2 airs on KRMA-Channel 6.
Wed., Feb. 6, 8 p.m., 2008