PBS Documentary Premiers Today: Driving While Black

Filmmakers unearth a long trail of racism in ‘Driving While Black’

(CNN) The tragic stories seem endless. Sandra Bland dies in a jail cell days after a traffic stop. Philando Castile is pulled over by police and within minutes he is dead. Rayshard Brooks, who had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car and failed a field sobriety test, is fatally shot.

A new documentary, “Driving While Black,” digs deep to untangle a twisted reality. Black people continually face danger behind the wheel, and it’s rooted in history.The two-hour film, premiering October 13 on PBS, winds its way from slavery to Jim Crow to the advent of the interstate highway. Through archival footage and a series of interviews, the filmmakers’ argument is poignant.

When Black Americans first found their freedom to move around, White Americans pushed back fearing where they were going and why — and the remnants of that prejudice linger today.

“There are still so many dangers of being on the road,” says Allyson Hobbs, a Stanford University associate professor, in the film. “I think we’re in a time right now where African Americans are feeling a similar kind of fear as their grandparents felt in the 1930s and 40s.”

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