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PBS Books, in collaboration with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is pleased to host a conversation New York Times best-selling Kwame Alexander, author of The Door of No Return and An American Story in connection with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s latest documentary MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, on October 17 at 8pm ET| 5pm PT.

In his latest book, Alexander’s The Door of No Return chronicles the saga of one African Family in verse and is part of a forthcoming trilogy.  Soon to be released, An American Story shares a story about African Americans’ struggle and strength, horror and hope. Through the conversation, you’ll learn about his work and process, as well as themes and topics that connect to MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE.


Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 36 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney+. The fall of 2022 will see the release of book one of a new trilogy, THE DOOR OF NO RETURN.


MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE is a four-part series that explores Black Americans’ Centuries-Long History of Establishing Communities and Attaining Social, Political and Economic Success in the face of racial segregation;  the documentary premieres on PBS stations across the country starting on Tuesday, October 4 at 9pm ET (check your local listing). In this latest series from the acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentarian, Gates and director Stacey L. Holman chronicle the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” During the series, Gates sits with noted scholars, politicians, cultural leaders, and old friends to discuss this world behind the color line and what it looks like today. MAKING BLACK AMERICA takes viewers into an extraordinary world that showcased Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself.

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