For over seven decades, EBONY has been a capsule for the documentation of Black life in all of its complexities and glory. PBS's new docuseries Making Black America: Through the Grapevine explores the iconic magazine from its very beginning.
In an exclusive clip shared with EBONY, Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of Eunice W. and John. H. Johnson—who founded Johnson Publishing, the parent company of EBONY and JET magazines—gives her perspective on how EBONY came to be named and its proud legacy.
Hosted, written and executive produced by the esteemed historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and directed by Stacey L. Holman and Shayla Harris, the four-part docuseries explores the manner in which Black Americans created and continue to innovate intricate systems of community in spite of white supremacy and oppression. Through interviews and commentary from notable cultural pillars across various industries, the series paints a picture of the phenomenal institutions within the Black community that have contributed to our communities survival over time.
“For centuries, 'the Grapevine' has connected Black Americans in formal and informal networks not just as a way of communicating but of building and sustaining communities large and small," said Gates in a statement. "From churches to fraternal and sororal organizations to Black Twitter, this is the story of the making of Black America and how, in the making, a people did more than survive the onslaught of enslavement and segregation. They redefined America and its cultural gifts to the world. All of us are grateful to our partners at CPB and PBS for giving us the opportunity to explore this history and what it can teach us as we struggle to overcome the challenges of our times.”
The episode airs Tuesday, October 18, 2022. Watch a clip of it below.