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THEMATIC: The American Landscape:

Cities  |   Natural Disasters  |   The Environment  |   Westward Expansion

Fatal Flood

Fatal Flood
A dramatic story of greed, power and race during one of America's greatest natural disasters.
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In the spring of 1927, after weeks of incessant rains, the Mississippi River went on a rampage from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, inundating hundreds of towns, killing as many as a thousand people and leaving a million homeless. In Greenville, Mississippi, efforts to contain the river pitted the majority black population against an aristocratic plantation family, the Percys-and the Percys against themselves. A dramatic story of greed, power and race during one of America's greatest natural disasters.
Influenza 1918

Influenza 1918
The worst epidemic in American history.
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In September of 1918, soldiers at an army base near Boston suddenly began to die. The cause of death was identified as influenza, but it was unlike any strain ever seen. As the killer virus spread across the country, hospitals overfilled, death carts roamed the streets and helpless city officials dug mass graves. It was the worst epidemic in American history, killing over 600,000 -- until it disappeared as mysteriously as it had begun.
New Orleans

New Orleans
Focusing primarily on the century from Reconstruction to school desegregation in the 1960s, the film offers a portrait of New Orleans that both explores its unique and distinctive culture and illuminates its central place on the American landscape.
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New Orleans: the utterly original American city that lies at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi and at the beating heart of the great American experiment. Walled in on almost all sides by water, pressed together by the demands and dangers of geography, the crowded streets of New Orleans have always been a laboratory where the social forces that characterize American life play out in dramatic and, at times, disastrous fashion. Over the course of two provocative hours, American Experience tells the story of this remarkable city. Focusing primarily on the century from Reconstruction to school desegregation in the 1960s, the film offers a portrait of New Orleans that both explores its unique and distinctive culture and illuminates its central place on the American landscape. Featuring the city's rich archival resources and a remarkable collection of on-camera commentators, the film also includes a series of verité-style portraits of New Orleans residents. The resulting cinematic narrative is a dialogue between past and present that highlights New Orleans' particular brand of humor, fatalism, and wry rebelliousness, while raising critical questions about what lies ahead for the city and the nation.
Surviving the Dust Bowl

Surviving the Dust Bowl
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 Great San Francisco Earthquake

The Great San Francisco Earthquake
Vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying event of 1906.
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From Enrico Caruso to the ordinary San Franciscan, vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying event of 1906; 480 square blocks were reduced to rubble; thousands were killed, tens of thousands left homeless. Then the heroic struggle to rebuild a city from the ashes began.
The Hurricane of '38

The Hurricane of '38
No one had ever seen a storm like this.
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As the storm made its way across the Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard, there was little warning. Radar had not been invented. The National Weather Bureau predicted it would blow itself out at North Carolina, but it didn't. No one had ever seen a storm like this. Rhode Island fishermen, residents and vacationers recount what it was like to live through one of the greatest natural disasters recorded in North America.

The Johnstown Flood (no website available)
A small city in Pennsylvania is swept away in a wall of water over 30 feet high.
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By an abandoned earthen dam, at a mountain resort 14 miles up the valley, the leaders of industry and their families created an exclusive summer retreat. But the structure of the dam was fatally flawed. On May 31, 1889, after steady spring rains, it broke without warning, and this small city in Pennsylvania was swept away in a wall of water over 30 feet high. More than two thousand people lost their lives; thousands were left homeless.
THEMATIC: The American Landscape:

Cities  |   Natural Disasters  |   The Environment  |   Westward Expansion

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