What Does It Mean to be a Black American?


“What an important and moving documentary. The film addresses the issue of race with an honesty, balance, and depth that could not be more timely.… Incredibly powerful.”
—Thora Colot, Executive Director, The Foundation for the National Archives, Washington, D.C.

“A work that is as compelling as it is useful.”
—Michel Martin, National Public Radio

Legacy documents the lives of African-Americans today against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement to clarify the successes and failures of racial integration and what they reveal about our democracy and national character.

Legacy features a VIP dinner in the Russell Senate Caucus Room on Capitol Hill hosted by Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The dinner included celebrated African Americans from business, politics, the media, and the arts and was held on the eve of Barack Obama’s historic run for the presidency to commemorate the deaths of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. The dinner discussion on the legacy and lessons of the black experience in America is punctuated in the film with background day-in-the-life profiles and vignettes that provide context.


Harvard University, sponsored by the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Foundation, and Harvard Black Students Association, with Joseph Ellis, Professor Orlando Patterson, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and Richard Karz

National Archives in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Foundation for the National Archives, with Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and Beverly Daniel Tatum

Apollo Theater in NYC, sponsored by AARP and the Apollo Theater Foundation, moderated by NPR’s David Brancaccio

J. Paul Getty Museum, sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Museum, with Kerry James Marshall, Lawrence Weschler, and Richard Karz

Emory University, sponsored by the Atlanta University Center Consortium, with Richard Karz.

Atlanta Civic Center, sponsored by Atlanta Public Schools, with Rep. John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, Beverly Daniel Tatum, and Richard Karz

Philadelphia Convention Center, sponsored by the National Council for Teachers of English.

Washington Convention Center, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation for the CBCF Annual Legislative Conference, with Professor Charles Ogletree, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Rev. Al Sharpton

Duke Ellington School of the Arts, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the National Council of Negro Women.