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.
The story of the polio crusade pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease.
At the height of segregation, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to a pioneering medical breakthrough.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.
The acquittal of the murderers of Chicago teen Emmett Till mobilized the civil rights movement.
The staggering death tolls of the Civil War permanently altered the character of the republic and the psyche of the American people.
America's first great songwriter, Stephen Foster, wrote 200 songs but died a penniless alcoholic at 37.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.
The six-part story of a frontiersman farmer and a wealthy Confederate slave-owner's daughter.