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Archive for New Films

The Front Porch Campaign of 1880


In 1880, the “surprise” presidential nomination of Ohioan James A. Garfield by the Republicans resulted in a campaign that, unlike any before it, regularly brought citizens and the candidate face-to-face. It was conducted on the front porch of Garfield's home.

Prior to 1880, it was considered undignified for anyone to actively seek the presidency. Nominees did not travel from state to state or city to city to tell voters that they had the solutions for the country's problems. Expected to emulate the example of George Washington, they were to remain above the fray. The sitting president, Rutherford B. Hayes, spoke to this tradition when he advised Garfield to "sit cross-legged and look wise until after the election."

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An Uncomfortable History: Coming to Terms with the Mine Wars


My Grandmother hated it when her father-in-law came to visit. Frank Keeney usually came by every other weekend or so, travelling by bus from Charleston to Alum Creek. My father tells me he can still remember seeing the bus pull away to reveal his grandfather standing at the bottom of the hill wearing a suit and lighting a cigarette like it was yesterday.

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Pilgrim Ancestors: Something to be Proud of Even 13 Generations Later


So, how important is Mayflower ancestry, really? To me, it’s a point of pride and reflection. Someone had the courage to make the equivalent of what would be a Mars mission today – and how many of you have signed up for that? Yet, they had a lot less information about their destination and the natives they would encounter.

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Coming in January 2016


In January 2016, American Experience has two new documentaries premiering on PBS. Bonnie & Clyde will kick off the new season on January 19 at 9/8c, followed by the premiere of Mine Wars on January 26 at 9/8c. We will also be re-airing our 2012 documentary, Death and the Civil War on January 12. 


Two Conversations with Rebel Soldiers


On a visit to Cuba in early 2001, I was told William Morgan’s name and something of his story. I had no idea then that this passing moment would lead me on my own quest to track down an Ohio man’s remarkable life. A short time later, however, I began an investigation that took me into a murky world of contested history where I met scholars committed to uncovering facts, bureaucrats whose jobs seemed to be to keep secrets, and aging Cuban Rebel soldiers attempting, after all these years, to make sense of their own lives.

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Rebuilding Radio Clinic


Radio Clinic was one of the 1,616 stores looted during the 1977 Blackout in New York City. In the days after the blackout, the chances of Radio Clinic’s survival looked pretty grim. In the wake of a large-scale disaster the precipitous event might be over; the fires put out and the hurricane waters receded. But for the small business owners whose stores were destroyed, the fight to survive was just beginning. Jen Rubin, the daughter of Radio Clinic's owner, writes about her father's experience after the Blackout.

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