Harvard professor and PBS filmmaker Henry Louis Gates loves looking into the past. His 3-year-old series “Finding Your Roots” delves into the genealogy of his famous guests with a mixture of historical and scientific research. His new six-part series “Africa’s Great Civilizations” takes viewers on an expansive exploration of the African continent and the origins of human existence. (As Gates states in the first episode, Africa is “the genetic home of all currently living humanity.”) In the series, he also examines the origins of both Islam and Christianity, the lucrative long-distance trade developed in North and West Africa, the great African cities that flourished while Europe was in the Middle Ages, and the eventual European exploration and colonization.
Watch “Africa’s Great Civilizations” for free on www.pbs.org. The series is also available for purchase on iTunes and through Amazon.