Focus On: Educating Black Boys

Focus On: Educating Black Boys

Premiering Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 10PM on UNC-TV!
Click here to watch the full program now!

Focus On: Educating Black BoysFocus On: Educating Black Boys is an hour-long discussion following up on the issues faced in POV's American Promise, focusing on what is being done and can be done for families here in North Carolina. This special program, recorded before a live studio audience, features an expert panel, including award-winning filmmaker Joe Brewster of the POV documentary American Promise and host Deborah Holt Noel, explores issues around education, opportunity, race, identity, and parenting in the 21st Century.

We have a great opportunity for you to preview this unique program and join the conversation! On Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8 PM, we will host a live online screening and discussion surrounding Focus On: Educating Black Boys using OVEE, new technology that provides a real-time community screening complete with chat and presentation features so viewers can become part of the conversation about public media content like this important program! This online event is free and open to the public with no pre-registration required. To participate, simply visit this page on April 22, 2014 a few minutes before 8 PM to enter the screening, which will be hosted by UNC-TV's Deborah Holt Noel!

UNC-TV's Deborah Holt Noel, host of Black Issues Forum and North Carolina Weekend, moderates the panel discussion for Focus On: Educating Black Boys, heading up a panel filled with distinguished guests. Learn more about our panel:

  • Troy K. Weaver — Biology instructor at Cary Academy in Cary, NC. Also served for several years as the inaugural Head of School at both Union Independent School and Durham Nativity School. He was Durham Public School's 2004 Teacher of the Year.
  • Nora Artis — Public education veteran and retired principal of C.S. Brown Alternative School in Hertford County, NC.
  • Susan R. Perry, PhD — Assistant Head of Upper School for Faculty Development and Student Guidance at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. Also, Adjunct Professor at Smith College School for Social Work teaching Clinical Applications of Family Theory and member of the Anti-Racism Task Force.
  • Stephanie Irby Coard, PhD — a psychologist and clinical researcher on the faculty at University of North Carolina - Greensboro.
  • Joe Brewer, MD — Producer, director, and parent featured in the PBS/POV documentary film American Promise


About American Promise
This springboard of inspiration for Focus On: Educating Black Boys is POV's American Promise, an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 12 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious-and historically white-private school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris Brewster and Oluwaseun (Seun) Summers of Brooklyn were two of the gifted children who were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.

Idris' parents, Joe Brewster, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle Stephenson, a Columbia Law School graduate and filmmaker, decided to film the boys' progress starting in 1999. They and members of the large Summers family soon found themselves struggling not only with kids' typical growing pains and the kinds of racial issues one might expect, but also with surprising class, gender and generational gaps. American Promise, which traces the boys' journey from kindergarten through high school graduation, finds the greatest challenge for the families - and perhaps the country - is to close the black male educational achievement gap, which has been called "the civil rights crusade of the 21st century."

To see an extended clip of the documentary, click here. To get more information about the film, filmmakers, and the children, visit the PBS American Promise website.

This program is made possible by a grant from American Documentary/POV, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

American Graduate and CPB     POV    NBPC