The American Creed documentary program borrows its title from a phrase in Nobel Prize-winning economist Gunnar Myrdal’s landmark study of American attitudes and beliefs during the Great Depression. Myrdal wrote: “Americans of all national origins, classes, regions, creeds, and colors, have something in common: a social ethos, a political creed. It is difficult to avoid the judgment that this ‘American Creed’ is the cement in the structure of this great and disparate nation.”
Myrdal defined that creed as an abiding sense that every individual, regardless of circumstances, deserves fairness and the opportunity to realize unlimited potential. He called the gap between that creed and the reality of American life "an American dilemma."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was among Myrdal's most attentive readers. Indeed, throughout history, America's most important social and political movements have appealed to this creed to expand access to freedom and opportunity. Our program is based on the premise that in every generation, a recommitment to the realization of the American creed is urgently needed.
Today, Americans find themselves caught up in an increasingly divisive political culture. Yet, wherever one stands, there is an implicit if not always expressed article of faith that the American Creed remains foundational to our identity, history and culture. Our premise is that every generation of Americans must wrestle with what it means to have an American national creed, understand the ideals embodied within it and commit to expressing those ideals in their lives as citizens. It is our hope that “Out of Many, One” will take on new and deeper meaning in every viewer’s life.