This past Monday, PBS aired a documentary about HBCUs called “Tell Them We Are Rising:The Story of Black Colleges & University” . The documentary focuses on the rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities before the end of slavery and over the 20th century.
HBCUs is a haven for Black intellectuals, artists, and revolutionaries. As well as a path of promise toward the American dream. Black institutions have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field while remaining Black for more than 150 years. These institutions have nurtured some of the most influential Americans of our time such as Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and more.
HBCUs were not only a place of unprecedented freedom for African American students but also a refuge from the rampant racism that was taking place outside the campus walls. Tell Them We Are Rising captures this important history to tell the dynamic story of Americans who refused to be denied a higher education and in created a set of institutions that would influence and shape the landscape of the country for centuries to come.
About the Filmmakers
Stanley Nelson is known as one of the preeminent documentary filmmakers of our time. He has directed and produced over 12 documentary features including Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple and The Murder of Emmett Till. When it comes to broadcasting, Nelson has won every major award in that category. Back in 2016, he was honored with a Lifetime Peabody Award, a Lifetime Emmy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association.
Marco Williams is a filmmaker and educator. He is a Art Professor at New York University, Tisch School of Arts. Williams directing credits include The Black Fives, The Undocumented, Inside the New Black Panthers, Freedom Summer and more. He has received many awards like the Guggenheim Fellowship, George Foster Peabody Award and the Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award.