*“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.
Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, the documentary exposes truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.
“All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But the truth is, opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys. We hope American Promise shines a light on these issues, ” says Stephenson. Adds Brewster, “Our goal is to empower boys, their parents and educators to pursue educational opportunities, especially to help close the black male achievement gap.”
“American Promise,” winner of a Special Jury Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, will premiere Monday, Feb. 3, at 10 p.m. on the POV (Point of View) documentary series on PBS. (Check local listings.) Watch the film on POV’s website, www.pbs.org/pov/americanpromise, from Feb. 4- March 6, 2014.
Coinciding with the documentary, Spiegel & Grau has published PROMISES KEPT: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with Hilary Beard. Where American Promise raises provocative questions, the book Promises Kept delivers answers, combining insights Joe and Michèle derived from their own experiences with the latest research on closing the black male achievement gap.