New PBS Series Tracing Black History Through Genealogy And DNA Science, Premiering February 2006
Monday July 18, 12:42 pm ET
Renowned Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. To Serve As Series Host
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 18, 2005-- Four-Hour Documentary Co-Produced By Thirteen/WNET New York And
The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG - News) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO - News) will underwrite AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES, an unprecedented four-hour series on PBS that takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will air February 2006 on PBS. The series is a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and Kunhardt Productions Inc.
Through a compelling combination of storytelling and science, the series will profile some of the most accomplished African-Americans of our time, using genealogy and DNA to trace their roots down through American history and back to Africa. Dr. Gates will provide access to their day-to-day lives, drawing on photographs, film clips, music, and early personal records, while a team of researchers, genealogists and forensic DNA analysts will conduct investigations into the family histories of these contemporary women and men. By spotlighting African-American role models, the series hopes to inspire millions to consider their own heritage, and underscore for all Americans the importance of knowing their past, in order to unlock the future.
"This is a unique program and we're very pleased to be underwriting it," said Berrece Andrews, associate director of multicultural external relations at Procter & Gamble. "Our support of the AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES project is part of a broader Procter & Gamble program aimed at touching the lives of African-Americans with relevant programming. With our family of consumers, suppliers, and employees becoming more and more diverse everyday, Procter & Gamble's success is dependent upon understanding the communities where we live and work. The series is a very creative way to inspire hope and understanding for this and the next generation."
"For more than three decades, Coca-Cola North America has created advertising and supported television programming that recognizes the unique contributions of African-Americans to the culture and history of our country," said Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, corporate external affairs, The Coca-Cola Company. "This extraordinary program, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES, will allow and encourage African-Americans to connect with their own history, and we are very glad to be part of this experience."
"This is one of the most exciting projects in which I have been involved," said Dr. Gates. "No television series has explored black roots both in America and in Africa and used DNA research to investigate the origins of individual African-Americans. AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will be a great way to introduce young people to the marvels of archival and scientific research and their practical applications. I hope that this project will encourage them - and all Americans, especially those of African descent - to explore their roots."
"We're incredibly excited about this project, which will be unlike anything the viewing public has experienced before. AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will be extremely dramatic television, but with a real purpose," said Tamara E. Robinson, vice president and director of programming for Thirteen/WNET. "We're delighted and gratified that The Procter & Gamble Company and the Coca-Cola Company have decided that this series deserves substantial corporate support. It's commitments like these that make important, relevant programming possible in this increasingly competitive television landscape."
For some Americans, the essential question "Where do I come from?" cannot be answered; their history has been lost or stolen. But through its genealogical detective work and groundbreaking DNA analysis, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will not only provide a transformational discovery for several prominent African-Americans, but also serve as an example for all Americans of the empowerment derived from knowing their heritage.
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