top of page

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

Honolulu, HI— Indie Lens Pop-Up, presented by ITVS, Independent Lens, Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking and PBS Hawai'i, are excited to present Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, which explores the pivotal role historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played over the course of 150 years in American history, culture, and identity.

The film reveals the rich history of HBCUs and the power of higher education to transform lives and advance civil rights and equality in the face of injustice. The latest film from director Stanley Nelson (Black Panthers, Freedom Riders), America’s foremost film chronicler of the African-American experience, Tell Them We Are Rising brings to life the powerful story of the rise, influence, and evolution of HBCUs. Co-directed and co-produced by Marco Williams, the film premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, February 19, 9:00-10:30 PM ET.

A haven for Black intellectuals, artists, and revolutionaries — and a path of promise toward the American dream — HBCUs have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field while remaining unapologetically Black for more than 150 years. These institutions have nurtured some of the most influential Americans of our time, from Booker T. Washington to Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison to Oprah Winfrey, Alice Walker to Spike Lee to Common.

In addition to the broadcast, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the centerpiece of a yearlong multi-platform effort called HBCU Rising. Featuring national partnerships (including The Black College Fund, Color of Change, Akila Worksongs, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., United Negro College Fund, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement), exclusive events, StoryCorps audio stories, video shorts, an HBCU campus tour and a crowdsourced HBCU Digital Yearbook, HBCU Rising will examine and celebrate the legacy of HBCUs. For more information, visit

WHAT: FREE preview screening of Tell Them We Are Rising

WHO: Presenters: Indie Lens Pop-Up, Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking, and PBS Hawai'i

WHEN: February 6, 2018 From 5:30-8:00 pm

WHERE: PBS Hawai‘i, 315 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu

For more information, visit:

bottom of page