BOWIE – Bowie State University in Prince George’s County is one of about 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. It is the oldest HBCU in Maryland, and one of the 10 oldest in the nation. On Feb. 19, PBS’s “Independent Lens” series will air “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary which explores the rich history and significance of these institutions.
The 90-minute film, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, was created by Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams.
“My parents were the product of HBCUs. For generations, there was no other place our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents could go to school,” Nelson said. “I set out to tell a story of Americans who refused to be denied a higher education and – in their resistance – created a set of institutions that would influence and shape the landscape of the country for centuries to come.
“If education is a cornerstone of society, then HBCUs are the groundwork for advancing justice in America.”
Nelson is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and has a Lifetime Peabody Award, Lifetime Emmy Award and Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, among other honors. Nelson has directed and produced over a dozen documentaries, including “Freedom Riders” and “Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.”
Williams is also the recipient of numerous accolades, including the George Foster Peabody Award. His directing credits include “Freedom Summer.”