Ahhhhh the late 60′s… the good old days when all black people wore afros and were pissed off.
And back during the summer of 1968, just a few months after the assassinations of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy, as the country was tearing apart at the seams, with cities becoming charred ruins from racial riots, CBS broadcast the documentary “Black History: Lost, Stolen or Stayed,” which was narrated by Bill Cosby.
The program was a sensation, and I still remember it. Nothing like it had even been done on TV before, and I’m hard-pressed to think of anything since.
And you have to consider that this was a very daring thing for Cosby to do at the time. He was the co-star of one of the most popular TV shows then – “I Spy” – and was considered by many to be a “safe and non-threatening” black man. So, for him to show his angry, militant outrage against racism, and how black people had been portrayed in films, despite their massive contributions throughout history which had been ignored, was shockingly radical.
Needless to say the show was a smash. In fact, it was so popular, and, of course, so controversial that the network re-broadcast it less than a month later, to an equally high viewership.
Later Lincoln Perry, better known as the infamous Stephin Fetchit (for you young’uns, a black actor from the 1930′s and 40′s, notorious for his highly offensive stereotyped film characters) filed a multi-million dollar suit against the network, claiming defamation of his character, which he lost.
But when you think about what we see today, you can argue that, not only have things not changed, they may have gotten even worse.
Watch the entire 53-minute documentary program below: