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CHRONOLOGICAL: 1926 - 1945:

1926  |   1930  |   1938  |   1941

G-Men -- The Rise of J. Edgar Hoover (1930-1939)
(no website available)
Of all the alphabet agencies of the New Deal, none captured the public's imagination like J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.
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Of all the alphabet agencies of the New Deal, none captured the public's imagination like J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. During the years 1930-39, the crime problem was frightening and real, however exaggerated by the FBI. Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde were public enemies; G-men the public heroes.

Simple Justice (1930-1954)
(no website available)
The legal efforts to eradicate segregation, case by case, state by state.
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Thirty years after the Supreme Court's "separate but equal" ruling, lawyer Charles Hamilton took over Howard University's rundown, segregated law school with the idea of training a cadre of elite African American lawyers to legally eradicate segregation, case by case, state by state. Their relentless and dangerous struggle would yield victory in the Supreme Court's landmark ruling, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. A dramatic presentation.
Surviving the Dust Bowl

Surviving the Dust Bowl (1931-1937)
The story of the people who lived through ten years of pain.
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They were called "Black Blizzards," dark clouds reaching miles into the sky, churning millions of tons of dirt into torrents of destruction. For ten years beginning in 1930, dust storms ravaged the parched and overplowed Southern Plains, turning bountiful wheat fields into desert. Disease, hardship and death followed, yet the majority of people stayed on, steadfastly refusing to give up on the land and a way of life.
The Massie Affair

The Massie Affair (1931-1959)
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.

Streamliners: America's Lost Trains

Streamliners: America's Lost Trains (1931-1960)
Sleek designs and revolutionary diesel engines made the U.S. passenger rail system the envy of the world -- but within two decades the era of these supertrains was over.
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On the morning of May 26, 1934, a shimmering silver locomotive pulled out of Denver's Union Station bound for Chicago. The Zephyr was unlike any train seen before. Known as a streamliner for its long, sleek look and powered by a revolutionary compact diesel engine, it would cover 1,015 miles in a record 15 hours. By the1940s, fleets of streamliners crisscrossed the country, making the U.S. passenger rail system the envy of the world. But within two decades the era of these supertrains was over, dozens of routes were discontinued and the cars sold off to Canada and Japan. The dramatic story of the streamliners is one of remarkable achievements and opportunities lost.
Jonestown

Jonestown (1931-1978)
This film is a revealing portrait of Jones, his followers, and the times that produced the calamity in the Guyanese jungle, told by the people who know the story firsthand: Jonestown survivors, Temple defectors, relatives of the dead, and journalists.
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On November 17, 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan traveled to an isolated rain forest in Guyana to investigate the concerns of his San Francisco-area constituents. Their alarming stories focused on a jungle compound known as Jonestown, a group called the Peoples Temple, and its leader, Jim Jones. According to news filtering back to America, U.S. citizens were being held against their will in prison camp conditions. There were allegations of physical and sexual abuse and even rumors of a planned mass suicide. Congressman Ryan, an impassioned human rights advocate, decided to get the facts for himself. Within forty-eight hours, Ryan, Jones, and over 900 Jonestown settlers were dead - casualties of the largest mass murder-suicide in history. In the next few days, grizzly details of cyanide-laced fruit punch and disturbing images of children poisoned by their parents emerged from the jungle. American Experience goes beyond the salacious headlines to provide a revealing portrait of Jones, his followers, and the times that produced the calamity in the Guyanese jungle, told by the people who know the story firsthand: Jonestown survivors, Temple defectors, relatives of the dead, and journalists.
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (1931-1989)
The trial of nine falsely accused teens would draw North and South into their sharpest conflict since the Civil War.
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In 1931, two white women stepped from a box car in Paint Rock, Alabama to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers on the train. So began one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century. The trial of the nine falsely accused teens would draw North and South into their sharpest conflict since the Civil War, yield two momentous Supreme Court decisions and give birth to the Civil Rights Movement. In addition to its historical significance, the Scottsboro story is a riveting drama about the struggles of nine innocent young men for their lives and a cautionary tale about using human beings as fodder for political causes.

After the Crash (1932)
(no website available)
The most desperate year of the Great Depression -- 1932.
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1932 -- the most desperate year of the Great Depression. The unemployment rate was 23.6%. Twenty thousand WWI veterans and their families marched towards Washington to claim the cash bonuses promised by Congress. President Hoover loaned them tents, cots and rations, but when Douglas MacArthur's army troops attacked the protesters, the country became convinced their President had no compassion for the dispossessed.
The Nuremberg Trials

The Nuremberg Trials (1933-1949)
The story of the dramatic post-World War II tribunal that brought Nazi leaders to justice and defines trial procedure for state criminals to this day.
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In November 1945, surviving representatives of the Nazi elite stood before an international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The 22 men were charged with the systematic murder of millions during World War II. U.S. chief prosecutor Robert Jackson hoped to show that crimes against humanity would never again go unpunished.

The Radio Priest (1935-1942)
(no website available)
Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest from Michigan, uses the new power of radio to become one of the first media stars.
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Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest from Michigan, uses the new power of radio to become one of the first media stars; every Sunday he would broadcast his message railing against the nation's economic and social system to millions of listeners caught in the grip of the Depression.
America and the Holocaust

America and the Holocaust (1935-1944)
Complex social and political factors shaped America's response to the Holocaust.
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Complex social and political factors shaped America's response to the Holocaust, from Kristallnacht in 1938 through the liberation of the death camps in 1945. For a short time, the U.S. had an opportunity to open its doors, but instead erected a "paper wall," a bureaucratic maze that prevented all but a few Jewish refugees from entering the country. It was not until 1944, that a small band of Treasury Department employees forced the government to respond.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men -- Revisited (1936)
(no website available)
An updated look at Alabama tenant families of 1936.
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An updated look at the Alabama tenant families that Walker Evans and James Agee documented in their 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, an American classic.
CHRONOLOGICAL: 1926 - 1945:

1926  |   1930  |   1938  |   1941

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