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America Beyond the Color Line with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Chicago: Streets of Heaven (#102)

Gates goes inside the notorious housing projects in Chicago's South Side -- the Robert Taylor and the Ida B. Wells -- to find out from the people who live there what life is like for America's "underclass. " "What happened to the city of refuge my father's generation sought in the North, North where 'the streets of Heaven were paved with gold? '," wonders Gates. Caught up in a culture of criminality, poverty and despair, is there any hope for the fifth of black Americans who have been left behind? [56 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard's chair of Afro- American Studies, travels the length and breadth of the United States to take the temperature of black America at the start of the new century. In four programs, Gates travels to four different parts of America -- the East Coast, the deep South, inner-city Chicago and Hollywood. He explores this rich and diverse landscape, social as well as geographic, and meets the people who are defining black America, from the most famous and influential to those at the grassroots.

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  • South: The Black Belt (#101)

    Gates travels to Memphis, Birmingham and Atlanta -- once the battlegrounds on which civil rights were won for black southerners in the 1950s and 60s. The very cities from which African Americans fled during the era of legal segregation are today drawing them back by the tens of thousands. But how much have these cities really changed since the civil rights era? Interviewees include Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou. [85 minutes]

  • East Coast: Ebony Towers (#103)

    The existence of a small group of African Americans at the heart of the political establishment and at the pinnacle of corporate America is something that, just two decades ago, seemed unimaginable. How did they get there, and what is the significance of their success? Beginning in Harvard, Gates travels to Washington, DC, and New York to ask if this new black power elite represents genuine progress for black America as a whole. Interviewees include Colin Powell, Russell Simmons, Vernon Jordan, Franklin Raines and the first African-American chess grandmaster in history, Maurice Ashley. [85 minutes]

  • Los Angeles: Black Hollywood (#104)

    Does the unprecedented success of African-American actors signal a genuine shift in the way race operates in the movie business? In the final hour, Gates asks whether Hollywood is institutionally racist or whether it is becoming increasingly color-blind in pursuit of the box office dollar. Interviewees include Chris Tucker, Samuel L. Jackson, Alicia Keys, Quincy Jones, Nia Long, Don Cheadle and John Singleton. [56 minutes]

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