Panelists speak at educational development workshop, premiering PBS documentary Many Rivers to Cross

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Educators to receive professional development, explore rich history of African Americans

WHAT:  Eight, Arizona PBS in partnership with the City of Phoenix Latino Institute and Arizona Informant will host an event Oct. 5 to unveil the six-part, six-hour series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. The event, which is free to attend, will lead educators, and others serving educational roles in the community, through a full-day agenda of professional development, integrating the landmark series into educational curricula. Three hours of professional development credit is available to educators for participating, at no cost to participants.

Written and presented by noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross documentary series premieres October 22 at 7 p.m. on Eight, Arizona PBS, and other PBS stations nationwide, and runs weekly for six consecutive weeks. The film chronicles the evolution of the African American people, as well as the cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.  Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events up to the present — when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.

The agenda for the Oct. 5th community and professional development event includes:

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration and continental breakfast, exhibit tables
  • 9 a.m. – Welcome remarks from Eight, Arizona PBS and series producers WNET Thirteen from New York City
  • 9:15 a.m. – Video introduction to the series
  • 9:30 a.m. – Keynote address by Dr. Neal Lester, ASU professor of English, specialized in African American literary and cultural studies
  • 10 a.m. – Panel discussion with Arizona African American Community Panel, facilitated by Dr. Neal Lester (panelists listed below)
  • 11 a.m. – AZ PBS LearningMedia presentation by Mark Becker, Assoc. Director, Eight Educational Outreach
  • 11:30 a.m. – Producers presentation of Many Rivers to Cross by WNET Thirteen, NYC
  • 12:30 p.m.  – Complimentary lunch, special musical performance by Dennis Rowland
  • 1:30 p.m. – Producers presentation of Many Rivers to Cross (continued)
  • 2:30 – 3 p.m. – Concluding thoughts and workshop evaluation

WHO:  Panelists include Cloves Campbell, Arizona Informant co-publisher and Arizona State Representative, District 16; Ahmad Daniels, author and founder of Creative Interchange; Calvin C. Goode, longest-standing Phoenix City Councilman (23 years); and Art Hamilton, former Arizona House of Representatives for 26 years. The panel will also feature Dr. Josephine Pete, former Deputy Superintendent for Phoenix Union High School District; and Judge Penny Willrich, who holds the distinction of having been the first African American woman trial court judge in Arizona state history.WHERE:  The historic A.E. England Building in downtown Phoenix (424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 85004), adjacent to Civic Space Park.

WHEN:  Saturday, October 5 – from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PHOTO OPPS:  Panelists and other honored guests will be available for interviews and photos before and after the event.

Media Contact:  Colleen O’Donnell Pierce
[email protected]
(602) 496-0579
(602) 478-3867 (cell)

About Arizona PBS

Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 52 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Arizona PBS achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 80 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Arizona PBS consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr.

Arizona PBS is a member-supported community service of Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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