KUSA - PBS istaking a new,intimate and provocative look at the world of private school, as seen through the eyes of two African American students.
"American Promise" is a documentary that was 12 years in the making. It centerson 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, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle, 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 what they describe assurprising class, gender and generational gaps.
"American Promise" traces the boys' journey from kindergarten through high school graduation. The filmmakers say itfinds 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."
"American Promise" airs Monday evening.