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Host Thomas Allen Harris with North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green, and her cousin Sterling Michael Holt.
Courtesy of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion LLC
Host Thomas Allen Harris with North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green, and her cousin Sterling Michael Holt.

Airs Mondays, Aug. 12 - 26, 2019 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Join host Thomas Allen Harris to explore American cities, towns and rural communities through the lens of the family photo album, unearthing rich personal stories that expand our understanding of history, diversity and common values.

Harris is a filmmaker and artist whose work across film, video, photography and performance illuminates the human condition and the search for identity, family and spirituality.

Graduate of Harvard College and the Whitney Independent Study Program, member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and published writer/curator, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change.


Harris is Senior Lecturer at Yale University, jointly appointed in African American Studies and Film and Media, where he teaches courses and curates exhibitions related to FAMILY PICTURES USA.

His deeply personal films — “VINTAGE-Families of Value” (1995), “É Minha Cara/That’s My Face” (2001) and “The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” (2005) — have received critical acclaim at international film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town.

His most recent feature film, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” (2014), which looks at the ways photographs serve as tools of representation and self-representation through history, was nominated for both an Emmy and a Peabody, and won over seven international awards including the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film.

His latest short film, “About Face: The Evolution of a Black Producer” (2017), had its premiere on World AIDS Day at the Whitney Museum of American Art and over 100 institutions worldwide as part of Visual AIDS’ 28th annual Day With(out) Art.

In 2009, Harris founded Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR), a social engaged transmedia project that has incorporated community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces and storytelling into over 70 unique audio-visual events in over 65 cities.


With this project, Harris has toured nationally and internationally, most recently as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and at the Yale University Afro American Cultural Center, to invite individuals to explore and share the rich and revealing narratives found within their family photo albums.

To date, DDFR has brought over 4500 people together in live events and gathered in excess of 30,000 images, sharing content through social media, television, articles, newspapers, and radio to receive over 70 million impressions worldwide.

Harris is bringing DDFR to national television with FAMILY PICTURES USA.


Episode 1: “North Carolina” airs Monday, Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. - Discover how this historically rural state built on tobacco and textiles is rapidly changing. Entrepreneurs find a warm welcome in Durham, Native Americans come home to ancestral lands, and families separated by race and class work toward healing.

Episode 2: “Detroit” airs Monday, Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. - Explore America's comeback city through photos and personal stories shared by residents. From the influence of the auto industry to labor unions to the Motown sound, Detroit's multilayered story is revealed via family narratives and memories.

Episode 3: “Southwest Florida” airs Monday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. - Visit the Paradise Coast, where Native Americans, ranchers and fishermen share family stories.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Episodes will be available for streaming on demand for a limited time after each broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Join The Conversation:

Share your family photos and stories with us using #familypicturesusa to be part of a bigger narrative building an inclusive national Family Album.

Family Pictures USA is on Facebook, Instagram. Follow @FamilyPicsUSA on Twitter.


A co-production of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC and ITVS.