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ALPHABETICAL: J - N

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MacArthur

MacArthur
A portrait of a complex, imposing and fascinating American general, General Douglas MacArthur.
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No soldier in modern history has been more admired -- or more reviled. Douglas MacArthur, liberator of the Philippines, shogun of Occupied Japan, brilliant victor of the Battle of Inchon, was an admired national hero when he was suddenly relieved of his command. A portrait of a complex, imposing and fascinating American general.
Malcolm X -- Make It Plain

Malcolm X -- Make It Plain
If any man expressed the anger, struggle and insistence of black people for freedom in the sixties, it was Malcolm X.
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If any man expressed the anger, struggle and insistence of black people for freedom in the sixties, it was Malcolm X. In Omaha, he was Malcolm Little; later he became "Detroit Red" a small time street hustler. From prison emerged another Malcolm, the fiery, eloquent spokesman for the Nation of Islam. After a trip to Mecca, there was a last transformation -- a new willingness to accept white allies. Who killed him and why has never been fully explained.
The Man Behind Hitler

The Man Behind Hitler
This portrait of Joseph Goebbels, delivered in words taken directly from his diaries, offers an insiderÍs view of the rise of the Nazi party.
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A symbol of Nazi cruelty and a master of cynical propaganda, Joseph Goebbels was the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's disturbing success.Goebbels, called the "genius of spin" and the "Reich-Liar-General," was a complicated man whose attitudes fluctuated between extremes of self-pity and grandiose excess. This program shows how Goebbels constantly reinvented himself through the years of his greatest success, and allows the man to speak for himself through the diaries he kept. Actor Kenneth Branagh reads the diary excerpts, revealing a chilling personality whose words justified racism, the Holocaust, and total war.Rare historical footage from German archives traces the path of the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, exploring his initial attraction to the Nazi party, his adoration of Hitler, his wild extermination fantasies, and, ultimately, his tragic self-delusions and suicide in 1945.
Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind

Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind
The rise and fall of an African American leader who influenced politics and culture around the world.
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He was both a visionary and a manipulator, a brilliant orator and a pompous autocrat. In just ten years following his emigration to the United States as a laborer in 1917, Marcus Garvey rose to lead the largest black organization in history, was taken to prison in handcuffs, and was eventually deported. Marcus Garvey is the dramatic story of the rise and fall of an African American leader who influenced politics and culture around the world.
Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford
Actress, businessperson, and legend -- Mary Pickford played a pivotal role in shaping the first new media of the twentieth century.
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Late in her life, the actor Mary Pickford described a recurring nightmare in which she walked out on stage to perform, only to find there was no one in the audience to watch her. For most of her career, Pickford had played to full houses and adoring fans. She had created a totally new way of acting that entranced audiences and left them spell-bound.

But Mary Pickford wasn't just a talented performer; she was also a creative producer and shrewd businessperson who played a pivotal role in shaping the first new media of the twentieth century. She was the first star to have her own production company and the first woman to take control of her career in a tough business run by tough men. For nearly two decades Pickford skillfully navigated her way through the industry. But by the end of her life, her nightmare became her reality. She discovered that fame was fleeting, the crowds fickle.

This powerful and moving American Experience

production uses archival footage, stills, original audio interviews with Pickford and clips from her movies to tell a story that is full of joy and power, of loneliness and despair.

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry (no website available)
The first officially formed regiment of northern black soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
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The first officially formed regiment of northern black soldiers who fought in the Civil War, the 54th's roster included shopkeepers, clerks, cobblers and seamen. They knew the eyes of the nation would be on them at a time when many whites insisted that black soldiers were too cowardly to fight. By the war's end, 180,000 black troops filled the Union ranks.
The Massie Affair

The Massie Affair
Was murder justified to defend his wife's honor?
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In the early years of the 20th century, at a time when the U.S. Navy dominated Hawaii, Americans thought of the islands as their Paradise in the Pacific. But in September 1931, an explosive incident shook the semblance of tranquility and exposed the racial tensions roiling beneath the surface. Thalia Fortescue Massie, the troubled young wife of a navy lieutenant, claimed that a group of Hawaiians had raped her on the Ala Moana, a lonely beach road leading from Waikiki to Honolulu.

Five young men were arrested -- two Hawaiians, two Japanese, and one Chinese. Despite evidence that the defendants couldn't have committed the crime, a mixed race jury deadlocked and the suspects were released on bail. Hawaiians were outraged, believing the rape charges a sham. White sailors imposed their own "justice" on one of the rape defendants, beating him badly.

Into this explosive atmosphere, Massie's strong-willed mother, Grace Hubbard Fortescue, made a dramatic entrance. When one of the rape defendants was found dead on the back seat of Fortescue's car, news of the "honor slaying" unleashed a torrent of racist invective from the mainland in support of Fortescue. Though she was eventually tried and convicted of manslaughter, her sentence was commuted to an hour. As this American Experience film shows, the Massie affair inflicted a wound on the psyche of the Hawaiian people that has yet to heal.

Meltdown at Three Mile Island

Meltdown at Three Mile Island
A series of malfunctions, mistakes, and misinterpretations lead to the country's worst nuclear accident.
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At 4:00am on March 28, 1979, a reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania suddenly overheated, releasing radioactive gasses. During the ensuing tension-packed week, scientists scrambled to prevent the nightmare of a meltdown, officials rushed in to calm public fears, and thousands of residents fled to emergency shelters. Equipment failure, human error, and bad luck would conspire to create America's worst nuclear accident.

Midnight Ramble (no website available)
The little-known story of a black independent film industry.
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The little-known story of a black independent film industry that thrived outside of Hollywood and produced close to 500 feature movies for African American audiences between 1910 and 1940. Many race movies tackled some of the difficult social issues that confronted black urban society: alcoholism, crime, morality, class conflict, even racism and lynching, setting the stage for today's independent black cinema movement.
A Midwife's Tale

A Midwife's Tale
An innovative film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Martha Ballard.
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An innovative dramatic film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Martha Ballard, a midwife and mother living in the wilds of Maine during the chaotic decades following the American Revolution. In a sparsely written diary, Ballard recorded her daily struggle against poverty, disease, domestic abuse and social turmoil. Two hundred years later, her world is painstakingly recreated by a historian seeking to understand eighteenth century America through a woman's eyes.

Los Mineros (no website available)
The story of the Mexican American miners whose labor battles shaped the course of Arizona history.
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The story of Mexican American miners -- "los mineros" -- whose pitched labor battles, beginning with the first strike in 1903, shaped the course of Arizona history. It was only in 1946 that the two-tier wage system for whites and Mexicans was abolished. The film recounts the rise and fall of three small towns -- Superior, Clifton-Morenci and Sonora -- where the mining of copper ore dominated the lives of all the inhabitants.
Miss America

Miss America
Miss America, the country's oldest beauty contest, is an Atlantic City seaside tradition that has become a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.
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Tracking the country's oldest beauty contest -- from its inception in 1921 as a local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the country's most popular events -- Miss America paints a vivid picture of an institution that has come to reveal much about a changing nation. The pageant is about commercialism and sexual politics, about big business and small towns. But beyond the symbolism lies a human story -- at once moving, inspiring, infuriating, funny and poignant. Using intimate interviews with former contestants, and fabulous behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, the film reveals why some women took part in the fledgling event and why others briefly shut it -- how the pageant became a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.
Monkey Trial

Monkey Trial
An all-out duel between science and religion.
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In 1925, a Tennessee, biology teacher named John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in defiance of state law. His trial became an epic event of the 20th century, a debate over free speech that spiraled into an all-out duel between science and religion. Featuring two of the 20th century's greatest orators, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, the Scopes trial was America's first major media event, with hundreds of reporters and live nationwide radio coverage dispersing the sensational news. Outside the courthouse, a circus atmosphere prevailed as a chimpanzee in a suit and hat vied with fire-and-brimstone preachers for the crowd's attention.Monkey Trial explores the dramatic moment when a new fault line opened in society as scientific discoveries began to challenge the literal truth of the Bible. Often humorous and at times frightening, the story of two value systems colliding resonates today.
The Mormons

The Mormons
This film presents a complex portrait of Mormonism. It digs deep into the Mormon past to understand the church today. It neither vilifies the church nor extols it, and in doing so it shows that the Mormon story is an American story and that Mormonism is p
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An AMERICAN EXPERIENCE/FRONTLINE co-productionMormons have always had a strange hold on the American imagination as licentious polygamists and pioneer heroes, subversives and super patriots, hard workers and possessors of dark secrets. Yet though Mormons have been persecuted more than any other religious group in the nation's history, and though Mormonism is one of the fastest growing faiths, most Americans know little about the religion. In this revealing, provocative two-part documentary, filmmaker Helen Whitney digs deep into the Mormon past to understand the church today. As she reveals, though the Mormons' early story is gaudy, extravagant and scandalous, it is also inspiring and the basis of their theology. At a crossroads, the Mormon Church is now finally confronting its history-what is fact and what is myth?-and reconciling scientific and historic truth with religious doctrine. With unprecedented access to church archives and with the cooperation of church leadership, Whitney paints a more complex portrait of Mormonism than ever before, a portrait that neither vilifies the church nor extols it, and in doing so she reveals that the Mormon story is an American story and that Mormonism is perhaps the most American of religions.
Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore
The story of a temperamental artist and the creation of the world's largest piece of sculpture.
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High on a granite cliff in South Dakota's Black Hills tower the huge carved faces of four American presidents. Together they constitute the world's largest sculpture. The massive tableau inspires awe and bemusement. How, and when, was it carved? Who possessed the audacity to create such a gargantuan work?The story of Mount Rushmore's creation is as bizarre and wonderful as the monument itself. It is the tale of a hyperactive, temperamental artist whose talent and determination propelled the project, even as his ego and obsession threatened to tear it apart. It is the story of hucksterism and hyperbole, of a massive public works project in the midst of an economic depression. And it is the story of dozens of ordinary Americans who suddenly found themselves suspended high on a cliff face with drills and hammers as a sculptor they considered insane directed them in the creation of what some would call a monstrosity and others a masterpiece.
Mr. Miami Beach

Mr. Miami Beach
Carl Fisher, the man who invented Miami Beach.
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In 1925, Miami Beach was the hottest spot in America, a magical playground by the sea with luxurious hotels, golf courses, swimming pavilions and Beautiful People. Yet just ten years earlier, none of it existed -- not even the sand. Everything was the creation of Carl Fisher, a fast-living dreamer and master promoter from Indiana. A self-made millionaire who built the Indianapolis Speedway, Fisher saw his tropical paradise boom -- until a hurricane, the Crash of 1929, and his own demons brought it all crashing down.

Mr. Sears' Catalogue (no website available)
A story of entrepreneurial triumph as well as an affectionate portrait of America from the 1890s through the 1920s.
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They started selling watches. Then Richard Sears and Alva Curtis Roebuck started a revolution -- a "wish book" that made life on the farm a little easier and put consumer goods within reach of every American. A story of entrepreneurial triumph as well as an affectionate portrait of America from the 1890s through the 1920s.
Murder at Harvard

Murder at Harvard
A brutal murder, a sensational trial -- and a lingering mystery.
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In November 1849, Dr. George Parkman, one of Boston's richest citizens, disappeared. The police searched the city and dredged the river. Parkman had last been seen walking towards the Harvard Medical College. A janitor there, Ephraim Littlefield, had a suspicion where Parkman might be found, and what he discovered horrified Boston and led to one of the most sensational trials in American history.Historian Simon Schama plays a key role in the film as a "time-traveling" detective trying to uncover the truth behind the case. He probes the lingering mysteries of this notorious trial and the larger philosophical question of how we can ever know what happened in the past.
The Murder of Emmett Till

The Murder of Emmett Till
Chicago teen Emmett Till's brutal murder in 1955 mobilized the civil rights movement.
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In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old black boy whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn't understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head.Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, including a detailed account of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till's death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.
Murder of the Century

Murder of the Century
Two notorious men loved Evelyn Nesbit -- one survived.
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In 1906, the murder of Stanford White, New York architect and man-about-town, by Harry K. Thaw, heir to a Pittsburgh railroad fortune, was reported "to the ends of the civilized globe;" much of the focus however was on Evelyn Nesbit, the beautiful showgirl in the center of the love triangle. A sensational murder story that had everything: money, power, class, love, rage, lust and revenge.
ALPHABETICAL: J - N

J  |   K  |   L  |   M  |   N

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