Tell Them We Are Rising Brings the 1st Documentary on Our Nation’s HBCUs to PBS

Courtesy of HBCU Rising
Courtesy of HBCU Rising

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who brought the story of a revolution to the screen with The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution, has once again encapsulated an enormous piece of black history with the first documentary that focuses on the history of our nation’s HBCUs.


Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities tells the story of the unapologetic black place HBCUs have held in American history for more than 150 years. They have served as havens for black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries. They have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been the path of promise toward the American dream for black people since before the end of slavery.

Tell Them We Are Rising is a 90-minute documentary that examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture and national identity. It traces the history of HBCUs from the earliest attempts at black education to today’s campuses. The film will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens on Monday, Feb. 19.

As an accompaniment to the film, the website HBCU Rising is a multiplatform-engagement campaign for the film that serves to extend the conversation and ensure that each of the more than 105 colleges and universities is represented via the HBCU Digital Yearbook. It is an online resource that allows students, alumni and historians to archive their campus memories through personal memorabilia, including photographs, videos, newspaper clippings, awards, graduation diplomas and campus-life activities.

Watch the trailer for the film below.

Visit HBCU Rising for more information about the documentary.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.


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I’m very excited to hear about this! But kinda sad we have to wait till Feb.