Staff Report 

ABC Owned Television Stations are going beyond statistics in a five-part docuseries, “Our America: Living While Black,” which premiered on Monday, October 19, 2020 with an hour-long special to air the weekend of October 24.

The series is airing on ABC Owned Televisions Stations’ Local Newscasts and will be available via streaming across its 32 connected TV Apps.

The Weeklong Docuseries and Hour-Long Special Tell the Stories of Black Families Across America navigating generations of systemic racism, policing, healthcare, education, wealth, and housing disparities while seeking to build stronger communities and create a better life. The special is a collaboration between the eight owned ABC stations and will air in ABC Owned Television Stations’ newscasts in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, and Fresno.

In California, the docuseries will air in local newscasts on Saturday, October 24 as follows:  KFSN-TV Fresno on Saturday (10:00-11:00 p.m.); KABC-TV Los Angeles (4:00 p.m. PDT), and KGO-TV San Francisco (4:00 p.m. PDT).

Viewers tuning in to their local ABC newscast will see extraordinary personal journeys of Black families and individuals across America rising above obstacles and pushing through systemic racism to achieve personal and professional success. These families and individuals will tell their stories in their voices. The docuseries follow the experiences of Black families across America including:

The McKissacks, twin sisters and CEOs of McKissack & McKissack, the nation’s oldest Black-owned design and construction firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. The award-winning business has been passed down five generations, starting with their ancestor Moses McKissack who was brought to the country as a slave by a contractor who used him as a builder. The McKissack projects are respected nationwide and include the John F. Kennedy Airport, the World Trade Center, the African American Museum, the Obama Library, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, and many more.

The Scott Family Farms, helmed by Will Scott, an 80-year-old fourth-generation farmer from Fresno, California. As a young boy, he worked alongside his grandfather and family as sharecroppers. Due to years of systemic racism, there are deep-rooted challenges Black farmers face; however, Will remains hopeful and is determined to keep the legacy of Black farmers alive and growing. For the first time, he sees more diversity and people recognizing that racism is a systemic problem.

Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California. At age 30, he is not only the country’s youngest mayor representing a city with over 100,000 residents, he is Stockton’s first Black mayor. He is a Stanford University graduate raised by a single mother and has an incarcerated father. When his cousin was murdered, Tubbs returned to the city of Stockton to create positive change. He became one of the youngest city council members in the country at age 22 and in 2016 was elected as the 82nd mayor of Stockton.

Antoine Lovell experienced homelessness while being raised in New York by a single mother. At one point they lived in train stations and his bedroom was the No. 3 train. The experience shaped his life. He is now a professor and doctoral candidate at Fordham University in the Bronx and Delaware State University, where he teaches social policy. His specialty is housing and homelessness, the core issues that impacted him as a young child.

The series’ episodes will unfold as follows:

Episode 1 – Maternal Morbidity:

The United States is the most dangerous place in the developed world for a woman in labor and delivery, especially a Black woman. Black women die three times more during childbirth than white women. This shocking statistic will be further explained and explored.

Episode 2 – Education Disparities:

The struggles in the education system for Black students have been around for decades. From racism to a lack of resources and access to more severe punishments, Black students continue to face a gauntlet of challenges in schools that can have a life-long impact.

Episode 3 – Income Disparity and Generational Wealth/The Road to Black Excellence is Different for Everyone:

The third installment of the series takes a closer look at the role housing and a lack of generational wealth. Backed by data, the special investigates how housing plays into economic disparity for Black people.

Episode 4 – Honoring the Past, Hope for Future:

Many history lessons leave out the history of slavery that began in 1619. While that history is brutal and tragic, Black families celebrate the work, sacrifices and knowledge of their ancestors and work to honor them by building on their family legacies and setting up future generations.

Episode 5 – Policing, Racism Living While Black:

For the final installment of the docuseries, the focus shifts to the topic that ignited this most recent civil unrest across the country and world. The policing of the Black community and the systemic racism that makes Black people more likely to be targets of police.

A trailer of the series is available here.