'Driving While Black' Doc Trailer About African-Americans on the Road

September 29, 2020
Source: PBS

Driving While Black Trailer

"Mobility is essential to freedom." PBS has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Driving While Black, which isn't the first film (or TV series) with this title - there's a dark comedy from a few years ago. This new one is described as "a groundbreaking, two-hour documentary film by acclaimed historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Emmy-winning director Ric Burns," airing on PBS next month. Drawing on a wealth of recent scholarship – and based on and inspired in large part by Sorin's recently published study of the way the automobile and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century (read here) – the film examines the history of African Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring along the way the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America during one of the most turbulent and transformative periods in American history. Looks like a comprehensive and fascinating look at American history - and how bad things still are.

Here's the first official trailer (+ poster) for Sorin & Burns' doc Driving While Black, direct from PBS:

Driving While Black Poster

Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences – at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming – of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond – Driving While Black explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years – told in large part through the stories of the men, women and children who lived through it. Driving While Black is co-directed by filmmakers Dr. Gretchen Sorin (making her feature directorial debut with this film) and Ric Burns (director of the docs Nantucket, Enquiring Minds, Debt of Honor, The Chinese Exclusion Act, Made for Each Other, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life previously) - they met working on Burns' New York: A Documentary Film. This hasn't premiered at any festivals or elsewhere, as far as we know. PBS will debut Driving While Black on TV first on the evening of Tuesday, October 13th. It will then be available for streaming after that. For more info, visit their website.

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