Premiering on PBS May 1, 2012. The most famous athlete of his time, his stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, Jesse Owens' grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus. The story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion, Jesse Owens is also about the elusive, fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when they suit our purpose, and forget them once they don't.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.
America came apart in 1964 and has since been reborn.
The trial of Charles Julius Guiteau, who assassinated President James A. Garfield, turned into a public battle over the meaning of insanity.
James Michael Curley and his sophisticated political machine dominated Boston for almost half a century.
The Alabama governor and presidential candidate promised segregation forever.
The little-known story of a black independent film industry that produced nearly 500 feature films for African American audiences.
Cuba's Communist leader defied the odds, surviving his Soviet benefactors, the wrath of U.S. presidents, two diplomatic crises and assassination attempts.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.