PBS to Air Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s New African-American Documentary

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross premieres Oct. 22.

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Henry Louis Gates Jr., Howard Milstein, Rep. John Lewis, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Julian Bond (Scott Henrichsen)

(The Root) -- On Wednesday evening, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., The Root's editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates Jr., hosted an illustrious panel and screening of his 13th documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Gates sat down to discuss the monumental six-part, six-hour series with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond in front of an audience of luminaries such as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.).

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross documents the journey of African Americans from slavery all the way to the White House. "The story of the African-American people is the story of the settlement and growth of America itself, a universal tale that all people should experience," Gates said in a statement. "Since my senior year in high school, when I watched Bill Cosby narrate a documentary about black history, I've longed to share those stories in great detail to the broadest audience possible, young and old, black and white, scholars and the general public. I believe that my colleagues and I have achieved this goal through The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross." The entire series will span 500 years over two continents.

The first episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross will air Tuesday, Oct. 22, with weekly episodes to follow.

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