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Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts new WGBH documentary series on Africa

Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the continent in “Africa’s Great Civilizations.’’
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Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the continent in “Africa’s Great Civilizations.’’

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s new three-part, six-hour documentary series, “Africa’s Great Civilizations,” will premiere on WGBH on Monday.

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The show follows Gates, a Harvard professor, as he travels around Africa to places like Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe and traces the origins of human existence and the history of agriculture, writing, and artistic expression in the continent known as “the homeland of humanity.” Along the way, he speaks with paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya and other experts who talk about their discoveries and show how Africa has changed over the years (Did you know that the Sahara wasn’t always a desert? It actually started out as a lush savannah.) And if you ask us, this is a show worth watching. It will air on Feb. 27, March 1, and March 2 at 9 p.m. on WGBH.