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Basic Black; Conversation With Eugene Rivers


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Basic Black
Conversation With Eugene Rivers
Program Number


Series Description

THe series was formerly known as Say Brother. Series title change as of 1/8/1998. This series is black produced and is one of public television's longest-running series that is rooted in and reflects the culture, concerns, achievements and history of people of African descent. Also includes controversial issues, African American artists, and events of special interest to the African American community.

Series release date: 1/8/1998

Program Description

Reverend Rivers of Boston’s anti-violence initiative, the Ten Point Coalition, discusses the challenges he faces as he works to improve the lives of young African Americans.

Darren Duarte speaks with Reverend Eugene Rivers, one of the most high-profile ministers in the Boston area, who has worked to reduce youth violence in Boston. Rivers leads the Azusa Christian Community, which in 1995 renovated a fire-damaged crack house in Dorchester and turned it into a base for community services. The Ella J. Baker House, named in honor of the Civil Rights organizer, provides a safe, supportive environment and numerous services for high-risk children and adults.

Rivers’ work with both the Azusa Christian Community and Boston’s Ten Point Coalition resulted in a dramatic reduction in youth violence in some of Boston’s toughest neighborhoods. Despite his achievements in improving troubled communities, his public style, seen by many as abrasive and alienating, led to his departure from Boston’s Ten Point Coalition. Rivers has been criticized for publicly attacking major African American academics and civil rights leaders. Many see Rivers as an opportunist, question his leadership interests and dispute his views on the civil rights movement.

"I said that the civil rights industry is over. Now, that was heresy, and hence, the controversy," says Rivers. "Now, I didn’t say that as a leader…I said, from what I’m seeing from the vast majority of poor neighborhoods, they need measurable outcomes. They don’t need hype, they don’t need rhetoric, they don’t need spin." Rivers says his motivation to help high-risk youth and their families stems from his faith and his own experiences growing up without a father in a tough Philadelphia neighborhood. Since departing from the Ten Point Coalition, Rivers has created a national Ten Point Foundation and continues to lead the Baker House in providing direct outreach to the community.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
Chicago: “Basic Black; Conversation With Eugene Rivers,” 12/18/2003, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed January 24, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2C64CC0D97BA48D4B9C68FDB12455483.
MLA: “Basic Black; Conversation With Eugene Rivers.” 12/18/2003. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. January 24, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2C64CC0D97BA48D4B9C68FDB12455483>.
APA: Basic Black; Conversation With Eugene Rivers. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2C64CC0D97BA48D4B9C68FDB12455483
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