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The Boston Globe

Television

Critic’s corner: What’s on TV Tuesday night

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross With Henry Louis Gates Jr. 8 p.m., Ch. 2

PBS favorite and Harvard’s own Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. (above) told reporters at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour that he was inspired to investigate the history of African-Americans by a Bill Cosby documentary he saw on TV when he was 17 called “Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed.” The profound impact that film had on Gates, he says, “shows the power of television.” He hopes to have a similar impact with this six-part chronicle that examines 500 years of African-American history, starting in the year 1513 and ending exactly 500 years later with Barack Obama’s reelection.

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