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Institute for Urban Research

PBS Documentary Examines History of HBCUs: ‘Tell Them We Are Rising’ - February 6, 2018

Tell Them We Are RisingThe vital role and relevance of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) has been contested in contemporary times. Until recently, no central text or film documented the history of these institutions as they transformed the lives of African-Americans and American society over the arc of time.

Emmy award-winning director Stanley Nelson's forthcoming film does just that. Grounded in history, "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities" sheds light on the "unapologetic Black spaces" specifically dedicated to affirming Black students' identities, culture and intellectual possibilities.

"The thing I love most about this film is that it drives home the fact that education has always been at the center of the Black freedom struggle," says Dr. Crystal R. Sanders, associate professor of history and African-American studies at Pennsylvania State University. "Before and after emancipation, African-Americans pooled their resources to set up institutions of learning because they understood that literacy was the key to freedom itself." Read article in full here.