National Geographic Premieres Rise Again: Tulsa and The Red Summer And Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship this Black History Month

Films showcase significant events in the history of the African diaspora, and bring new discoveries to light

 

In honouring Black History Month, National Geographic premieres two films that bring new information and perspectives to light and that showcase significant people and events in the history of the African diaspora. The two-hour special Rise Again: Tulsa And The Red Summer will premiere on Sunday 6 February at 20:00 while Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship will premiere on Sunday 27 February at 20:00 (CAT), both on National Geographic (DStv 181, Starsat 220).

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National Geographic Documentary Films partnered with acclaimed filmmaker Dawn Porter ("The Way I See It," "Good Trouble: John Lewis") and Trailblazer Studios on the feature documentary that sheds new light on a century-old period of intense racial conflict. Rise Again: Tulsa And The Red Summer comes just over one hundred years after the two-day Tulsa Massacre in 1921 that led to the murder of hundreds of black people and left thousands homeless and displaced.

Award-winning Washington Post journalist and Oklahoma native DeNeen Brown is at the heart of the film, reporting on the search for a mass grave in her native state. Digging into the events that led to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in America's history, Brown reveals insights into racial-conflict incidents that erupted in the early 20th century.

Brown's reporting highlights the revived call for justice for victims and survivors. Following a 2018 investigative report, Brown explores the current new anti-racism movement in the context of the Tulsa Massacre and the Red Summer. With access to family members of those killed, city officials, archaeologists and historians, the film reveals the decades-long effort by descendants and community members to find the victims' bodies and unearth truths that have been suppressed for nearly a century. Rise Again: Tulsa And The Red Summer also untangles the role the media played in covering events at the time in order to reveal the full extent of the nation's buried past.

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National Geographic will also premiere the documentary special, Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship about the most intact slave shipwreck found to date and the only one for which we know the full story of the voyage, the passengers and their descendants.  In July 1860, on a bet, the schooner Clotilda carried 110 kidnapped Africans to slavery in Alabama. The traffickers tried to hide their crime by burning and sinking the ship, but now, for the first time since Clotilda arrived in America, maritime archaeologists enter the wreck. 

In a dangerous dive, they explore the actual cargo hold and find physical evidence of the crime the slave traders tried so hard to hide. Descendants of the passengers share how their ancestors turned a cruel tragedy into an uplifting story of courage and resilience.

The special features experts include the following:

  • Dr. Sylviane Diouf, historian and author of “Dreams of Africa in Alabama:  The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America”
  • Dr. Natalie S. Robertson, historian and author of “The Slave Shop Clotilda and the Making of Africatown, USA”
  • Mary Elliott, curator of American slavery, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Dr. James Delgado, maritime archaeologist, SEARCH Inc.
  • Stacye Hathorn, Alabama State archaeologist, Alabama Historical Commission
  • Joseph Grinnan, maritime archaeologist/diver, SEARCH, Inc.
  • Kamau Sadiki, lead instructor, Diving With a Purpose

Additionally, National Geographic has launched a powerful new podcast, Into The Depths, that uncovers the deep history of the transatlantic slave trade as it follows a group of Black divers who are dedicated to finding and helping to document slave shipwrecks.

The six-part podcast series, funded in part by the National Geographic Society, highlights the journey of National Geographic Explorer Tara Roberts, who quit her job and left her life behind to follow in the footsteps of Diving With a Purpose, a group of Black divers who traverse the globe in search of long-lost slave shipwrecks and the truth of the history that accompanies them. The podcast follows Roberts from Florida to Costa Rica, and from the continent of Africa back to Roberts’ family home in Edenton, North Carolina, where the journey quickly turns personal for her.

“What I was experiencing was this sense of longing. I think this is a unique thing for African Americans. Where is home for us?”

 

she asks in the fourth episode of the series. The question leads her on this life-changing journey.

Into The Depths is a profound and personal exploration of identity and history as told through the lens of Black scientists and storytellers eager to deepen our understanding of American history,”

 

says Davar Ardalan, executive producer of Audio for National Geographic.

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