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The American Experience Series on PBS

February 7, 2013 in History, Movies & Entertainment

American Experience blog feedhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/American Experience blog Feed description.en-usSun, 13 Jan 2013 11:36:46 -0500Abolitionist Map of America Projecthttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2013/1/13/abolitionist-map-america-projectJanuary 13, 2013 11:36 a.m. <p>Hey, mom and pops, look what I made!! (Ok, well, look what I and a bunch of other people made). <em>American Experience</em> is launching an <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/american-experience-mapping/id585230600?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2″ target=”_blank”>app </a>based on my project!</p>

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Watch <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://video.pbs.org/video/2325276804″ target=”_blank”>Map History With Us!</a> on PBS. See more from <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/” target=”_blank”>American Experience.</a></p>

<p>In August, after moving to Boston, Massachusetts from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I started working for <em>American Experience</em> on the Abolitionist Map of America project — an <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interactive-map/abolitionists-map/”>interactive map</a> also featured on the brand new <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/american-experience-mapping/id585230600?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2″ target=”_blank”><em>American Experience</em>: Mapping History</a> iPhone app. I grew up in Monticello, Mississippi, and I have always been fascinated by the history of the Civil Rights Movement — how the efforts of a few individuals who recognized that it was time for change and progress led to one of the most significant social advancements in the history of this country. And I was thrilled to be working on this project, bringing awareness of the often forgotten heroes from the first Civil Rights movement in American history — the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/”>abolitionist movement.</a></p>

<p>The work of abolitionists took place at sites all over the country &mdash; from churches to barns and schools and offices, and from the smallest villages to the largest cities. To date, the Abolitionist Map of America features 1,000 unique historical photographs, archival materials and video clips pinned to locations from Maine to Colorado, contributed by over 100 partners and fans of <em>American Experience</em>. Our partners range from historical societies and public libraries, to museums, university special collections, and civic organizations. All have contributed to the project by digitizing, uploading and describing their unique treasures related to the abolitionist movement and have pinned them to our map.</p>

<p>Before I started the job, a couple of excellent interns at <em>American Experience</em> had begun researching locations that were significant to the movement. After we had identified over 500 sites that we wanted featured on the map, I began the outreach phase of the project. Every day I would call about ten organizations and explain the project and identify some of their materials that we thought would be great contributions to the map. One of my most memorable experiences was one morning when I got a phone call from a classroom full of high school students in Iowa who wanted to create some videos featuring abolitionist sites in their local community. I will also never forget the time I called a potential partner who immediately responded that “Getting a call from <em>American Experience</em> is like a Beatles fan getting a phone call from Paul McCartney!”</p>

<p>When the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interactive-map/abolitionists-map/”>map</a> launched on the <em>American Experience</em> website, I created and sent instructional guides to partners as we continued to build new relationships with more organizations. This really was my favorite part of the project — developing personal ties with so many like-minded institutions who have helped us make the map a success. It was also a wonderful experience working with partners in our walking tour cities — Charleston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Boston — to identify the most significant abolitionist-related locations in their cities. As we created the tours and as I worked with our partners across the United States, I loved how my very broad knowledge of the movement expanded to learning about so many individuals, events, and places that were central to the abolition of slavery. Every time I walk through downtown Boston now, and almost every time I visit a new place, I make connections with how the abolitionist movement left its mark there.</p>

<p>The day the <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/american-experience-mapping/id585230600?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2″ target=”_blank”><em>American Experience</em> app</a> launched I cannot describe how awesome it was to see the Abolitionist Map of America live on my iPhone! Since then, we have continued to work with our partners as the map keeps growing every day. And the map and app are still very much a living, ongoing project — I come in to work every day to see what new pins have been added to the map. Our partners and users continue to pin images that I did not think existed, and they are pinning locations that I knew about but could not find in my own research.</p>

<p>Download the <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/american-experience-mapping/id585230600?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2″ target=”_blank”><em>American Experience</em>: Mapping History</a> app today to explore what abolitionist history exists in your neighborhood. And we want your help mapping history, too! Pin your own photos and videos on the website, and together we can reveal the story of the abolitionist movement across North America.</p>

<p align=”right”>Casey is Special Projects Assistant for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE<br /><img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/casey-headshot2.png” alt=”" width=”162″ height=”150″ /></p>Sun, 13 Jan 2013 11:36:46 -0500http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2013/1/13/abolitionist-map-america-projectThe Characters in The Abolitionists http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/12/21/characters-abolitionistsDecember 21, 2012 4:32 p.m.
<p>When we first began the task of tackling the history of abolitionism four years ago, we were faced with a daunting task: the movement spanned decades, the leaders were numerous, the history complicated and the scholarly literature voluminous. And yet there was no book that told the overarching story of the abolitionists, and no guide for capturing the courage and struggles of these remarkable civil rights heroes. We decided that the way to grab the attention of a broad television audience was to focus on a handful of <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/abolitionists-biographies/”>key characters</a> — that is, to create a character-driven mini-series set against the backdrop of a tumultuous time in American history.</p>

<p>Initially we chose to focus solely on the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, largely because they are the best-known <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/”>abolitionists</a> and among the most important. The two men — one a former slave, the other an impoverished printer — are among the greatest civil rights activists in American history. They opened the eyes of thousands and put their families at risk to erase the sin of slavery. They had tremendous respect for each other and stood together for many years before, sadly, having a bitter falling out. Though they never fully reconciled, the ties between the two ran deep. When Garrison died, Douglass wrote a eulogy of his former mentor that was transcendent and profoundly moving.</p>

<p>The relationship between Douglass and Garrison forms the backbone of our mini-series. As historian John Stauffer points out, “To see how their two lives both evolve for awhile in parallel and then diverge and eventually converge again is a way to frame the broader themes of the abolitionist movement. It shows the movement’s internal debate over fighting slavery through the political process, which Garrison rejected and Douglass came to embrace. It covers Garrison’s pacifism and Douglass’ advocacy of revolutionary violence. It shows both men’s huge embrace of feminism. So focusing on these two men is an ideal way, in my view, to frame the entire abolition movement.”</p>

<p>Although the film was originally conceived as a dual biography, over time we realized that structure didn’t fully recognize the tremendous contribution of women to the antislavery cause. The abolitionist movement succeeded in large part because of women who spoke out publicly against slavery — a role many people, including some in the movement, considered unseemly and provocative.</p>

<p>We chose to feature one of those early feminists, Angelina Grimk&eacute;. She was one of the first women to ever speak to audiences that included men, and she gradually began connecting her belief in the rights of black Americans to the rights of women, causing great upheaval within the anti-slavery movement. In addition, she is all the more intriguing because she was herself a former slave owner. Grimke revolted against her slave society, left home to take up the antislavery cause, and urged other southern women to do the same. As one of the few abolitionists who had experienced slavery first-hand, she proved invaluable to the movement.</p>

<p>To advisor and historian Lois Brown, the abolitionist movement was a like a river formed from many diverse tributaries — something the film captures well. “The primary figures represent different and really compelling pieces of the story of America’s move from enslavement to freedom,” Brown says. “Frederick Douglass makes his way towards freedom, and in many ways Angelina Grimk&eacute; and William Lloyd Garrison — two people who by all accounts are free — also make their way to freedom. The power of this film lies in the way that it pays attention to the networks that develop. Each of these primary figures, these heroes that we behold, does come to a moment of real reckoning for themselves, where they have to make the decision, whether or not they are going to live a life of tortured silence or whether they are going to speak their minds and believe in their hearts, and go forth without any guarantee that the world will listen or will improve.”</p>

<p>The abolitionists were originally deeply committed to non-violence, but after a decade of struggle many began to wonder if slavery would ever end without violence. This tension is key to the history of the movement. Douglass himself began to have doubts. He was encouraged to put his pacifism aside by his close friend John Brown, who urged Douglass to join his small band of armed men in a raid on Harper’s Ferry. As much as any other single event, Brown’s raid escalated tensions between proslavery and antislavery forces, and helped push the nation closer to war.</p>

<p>Finally, the project did not feel complete without the inclusion of the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Unlike our other characters, Stowe was not a life-long abolitionist. Initially, she disdained the movement, but her own experience of tragic loss, and her exposure to slavery, changed her mind. Her book — the best-selling novel of the 19th century — would win the hearts of Americans and, in the words of one scholar, convert millions “to being against slavery.”&nbsp;</p>

<p align=”right”>Sharon Grimberg is Executive Producer for <em>The Abolitionists<br /><img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/sharon2.jpg” alt=”" width=”100″ height=”100″ /></em></p>Fri, 21 Dec 2012 16:32:27 -0500http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/12/21/characters-abolitionistsThis Winter on American Experience http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/11/30/winter-american-experienceNovember 30, 2012 6:00 a.m.

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<p style=”font-size: 11px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;”>Watch <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://video.pbs.org/video/2311354955″ target=”_blank”>Coming this Winter</a> on PBS. See more from <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/” target=”_blank”>American Experience.</a></p>

<p><strong>January 8, 9-10pm:&nbsp;<a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/”>The Abolitionists</a>, Part 1</strong><strong><br /></strong><strong>January 15, 9-10pm:<a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/”> The Abolitionists</a>, Part 2</strong><strong><br /></strong><strong>January 22, 9-10pm:&nbsp;<a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/”>The Abolitionists</a>, Part 3</strong><strong><br /></strong><span>To form a more perfect union, they tore the nation apart. The story of Abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimk&eacute;, and how they turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation.</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p>

<p><strong>January 29, 9-11pm:&nbsp;Henry Ford<br /></strong>The biography of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century, this biography of Henry Ford offers an incisive look at the birth of the American auto industry with its long history of struggles between labor and management, and a thought-provoking reminder of how Ford’s automobile forever changed the way we work, where we live, and our ideas about individuality, freedom and possibility.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Henry Ford is part of The Titans collection, which includes biographies of Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefeller family.</p>

<p><strong>February 5, 9-11pm: Andrew Carnegie (<a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/index.html”>Andrew Carnegie: </a></strong><strong><a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/index.html”><strong></strong></a><strong><a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/index.html”>The Richest Man in the World</a></strong>) (repeat)<br /></strong><span>Andrew Carnegie’s life seemed touched by magic. He embodied the American dream: the immigrant who went from rags to riches, the self-made man who became a captain of industry, the king of steel.&nbsp;</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p>

<p><strong>February 12, 8-10pm: John D. Rockefeller (<a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rockefellers/”>The Rockefellers</a>) (repeat)<br /></strong><span>For decades, the Rockefeller name was despised in America — associated with John D. Rockefeller Sr.’s feared monopoly, Standard Oil. By the end of his life, Rockefeller had given away half his fortune — but even his vast philanthropy could not erase the memory of his predatory business practices.</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p>

<p><strong>February 19, 8-9:30pm: Silicon Valley<br /></strong>Before Apple and Google, before stock-option millionaires, and before billionaire venture capitalists, a group of eight brilliant young scientists came together to form a company whose radical innovations helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, changing the way the world works, plays, and communicates. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability of a born salesman, who would co-invent the microchip — the electronic heart of every modern computer, automobile, cell phone, advanced weapon, and video game.</p>Fri, 30 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0500http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/11/30/winter-american-experiencePin Drive Contest http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/11/15/pin-drive-contestNovember 15, 2012 1:00 p.m.
<p>Got old photos? Put them on our map for a free DVD!</p>

<p>This fall, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been building the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interactive-map/abolitionists-map/”>Abolitionist Map of America</a> — an interactive map that integrates the history presented in the upcoming documentary <em>The Abolitionists</em> (premiering January 8, 15 &amp; 22nd on PBS) with the present-day life of American cities. We have partnered with dozens of organizations across the country to pin geo-tagged photos, videos, audio files, and documents that are relevant to the abolitionist movement all across America, and now we want you to participate in the pinning too!&nbsp;</p>

<p><img class=”center_align” src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/map_grab.jpg” alt=”" width=”550″ height=”100″ /></p>

<p>From Monday, November 26 through Monday, December 3, we are holding a Pin Drive Contest. Whoever can pin as many complete&nbsp; photos, videos, and/or audio clips to the map will take home the prize – a free DVD copy of <em>The Abolitionists</em>! (Complete pins will include a title, description, location, and date. For more information on what we think is ideal content for the map, check out our <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/abolitionists-map-guide/”>how-to guide</a>.)</p>

<p>Do you have anything related to the abolitionist movement in your back yard? In your neighborhood? I just found out a few days ago that one of my friend’s homes was the meetingplace for a local female anti-slavery society. The Connecticut house that my colleague grew up in had a tunnel in the basement wall that went out under the road — it was rumored to be used in the Underground Railroad. What’s your story?</p>

<p>It’s time to bring those boxes of old photographs down from the attic. It is time to create some videos with your phone or iPad. Pin as many as you can to the map, and help us tell the story of the abolitionist movement in your town or city. Pinning to the map takes only ten minutes.</p>

<p>How many items can you pin? To start pinning your history to the map, visit <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interactive-map/abolitionists-map/”>http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interactive-map/abolitionists-map/</a>.</p>

<p><em>By participating in the Pin Drive Contest, you agree to the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/about/team/pin-drive/”>Terms &amp; Conditions</a>. </em></p>


<p>Casey is the Special Projects Assistant for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.&nbsp;<img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/casey-headshot2.png” alt=”" width=”162″ height=”150″ /></p>Thu, 15 Nov 2012 13:00:00 -0500http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/11/15/pin-drive-contestMichael Dobbs on the Cuban Missile Crisis http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/10/15/michael-dobbs-cuban-missile-crisisOctober 15, 2012 9:50 a.m.
<p>Today marks 50 years since the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/jfk-negotiate/”>Cuban missile crisis</a> began to unfold in the United States. American satellites had taken photographs showing secret missile bases under construction in Cuba. The Soviet Union was involved. Some missiles were nuclear, and some could reach U.S. soil. The following 13 days would be both tense and delicate for the Kennedy administration, to say the least.</p>

<p>AMERICAN EXPERIENCE interviewed author and Journalist Michael Dobbs for our upcoming biography of JFK (Fall 2013). Dobbs first visited Russia when he only was six weeks old, and spent much of his career covering the fall of communism and the Cold War. He is the author of the 2008 bestseller “One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War,” an hour-by-hour account of the Cuban missile crisis. In 2012, he tought courses on the subject at Georgetown and American Universities.</p>

<p>His interview on the Cuban missile crisis is <em>fascinating</em>. We would love to post all of it here for you, but we have to leave something special for the documentary!</p>


<p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “A lot of information that a President receives in these kind of crisis situations turns out to be incomplete and often inaccurate. For example, Kennedy didn&rsquo;t know where the Soviet nuclear warheads were on Cuba. He knew where the missiles were, but he didn&rsquo;t know where the warheads were. The CIA told him that there were 8,000 Soviet technicians in Cuba. In fact, there were 43,000 heavily armed Soviet soldiers at that point. The Soviets possessed, in addition to these longer-range missiles that could hit the United States, they also possessed shorter-range tactical nuclear weapons that could have been used to wipe out the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo or a U.S. invading force. Kennedy didn&rsquo;t know any of that. So he learned very late about the presence of nuclear missiles, Soviet missiles in Cuba. So he was trying to manage this crisis with only imperfect information. And I think that probably illustrates the position that many presidents are in, at a time of grave national security crisis.</p>

<p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “The Kennedy administration certainly underestimated the scale of the Soviet military presence on Cuba. They knew that if they invaded the island, they would face heavy resistance from the Cubans and there would be very heavy casualties, but the casualties would have been much, much greater than the U.S. military estimated. It would have been in the tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of Cubans, Russians, and Americans, had Kennedy decided to go ahead with an invasion as many of his military advisors were urging to do.”</p>Mon, 15 Oct 2012 09:50:23 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/10/15/michael-dobbs-cuban-missile-crisisThe Abolitionists – Coming in 2013 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/8/29/abolitionists-coming-2013August 29, 2012 5:00 p.m.
<p>AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in 2013 with the broadcast premiere of <em>The Abolitionists</em> on PBS. The three-part docudrama tells the story of how Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and their abolitionist allies Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimk&eacute; turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation. Watch this short preview and check back with us in a couple of months for airdates – we will announce the broadcast schedule for the 2013 season soon!</p>


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<p style=”font-size: 11px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;”>Watch <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://video.pbs.org/video/2274405136″ target=”_blank”>The Abolitionists</a> on PBS. See more from <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/” target=”_blank”>American Experience.</a></p>

<p>Lauren Noyes is the Production Assistant for American Experience. <img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/noyes.jpg” alt=”" width=”80″ height=”76″ /></p>Wed, 29 Aug 2012 17:00:00 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/8/29/abolitionists-coming-2013The Season in Review http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/7/26/season-24-reviewJuly 26, 2012 8:50 a.m.
<p>Our editor Glenn created this video for PBS’ Annual Meeting, held May 14 this year in Denver. When we were there, we wanted to show off some of our successes from last year and get people excited about what’s to come next year. Now, we can’t show you anything for next year quite yet, (check back with us in a couple of months!) but here’s our minute-long recap from last season.</p>


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<p style=”font-size: 11px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;”>Watch <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://video.pbs.org/video/2260094685″ target=”_blank”>Season Recap 2012</a> on PBS. See more from <a style=”text-decoration: none !important; font-weight: normal !important; height: 13px; color: #4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/” target=”_blank”>American Experience.</a></p>

<p>Which doc was your favorite?</p>

<p>Vanessa Ezersky is the Post Production Supervisor for American Experience. <img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/headshot_vanessa_2012.jpg” alt=”" width=”100″ height=”110″ /></p>Thu, 26 Jul 2012 08:50:00 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/7/26/season-24-reviewMemorializing Vietnam http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/5/26/memorializing-vietnamMay 26, 2012 2:40 p.m.
<p>This year marks the 50th anniversary of the <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/index.html”>Vietnam War</a> — five decades ago President John F. Kennedy signed the National Security Action Memorandum and significantly increased military aid to South Vietnam. This Memorial Day marks the official kickoff of events honoring that anniversary, though if you looked around, you might not know it. In a <a href=”http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/05/18/tribute_to_vietnam_veterans_sputtering/?page=full” target=”_blank”>Boston Globe article</a> last Sunday Brian Bender hit the nail on the head, noting that few events have been planned and necessary corporate funding for such events has been lackluster at best.</p>

<p>On January 14th 2011, the Department of Defense published a press release officially recognizing a government sponsored commemoration program for the 50th anniversary in 2012. The first objective of this program is to:</p>


<p>”thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.&rdquo;&nbsp; (<a href=”http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14201″ target=”_blank”>http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14201</a>)</p>


<p>The most visible effort appears to be the creation of the program&rsquo;s website, <a href=”http://www.vietnamwar50th.com” target=”_blank”>http://www.vietnamwar50th.com</a> which features a heavily-detailed interactive timeline of the war as well as a calendar of scheduled events. (However, the calendar lists only nine events across five states.)</p>

<p>A quick Google search for events in my local area of Boston included one from a Gloucester, MA publication, titled <a href=”http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x234165704/No-room-for-Vietnam-Citys-Memorial-Day-plans-draw-fire-over-ceremony-snub” target=”_blank”>&ldquo;No room for Vietnam? City’s Memorial Day plans draw fire over ceremony snub.”</a></p>

<p>Many people, patriots and antiwar protestors alike, have considered U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War to be one of the great blunders in our country’s military history. But we must also recognize an equally disappointing truth: the absence of adequate reverence for the men and woman who fought for a grueling 20 years. During a recent Medal of Honor ceremony for a Pennsylvania Army specialist killed in combat during the Vietnam War, President Obama noted, “This month, we’ll begin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War — a time when, to our shame, our veterans did not always receive the respect and the thanks they deserved, a mistake that must never be repeated,” he said.</p>

<p>Reinforcing the president&rsquo;s powerful words, retired Army General Wesley K. Clark, a 1966 graduate at West Point, points out that the sacrifice of the returning armed forces persons is still underappreciated. Clark recently recounted his memory of the spectators at the opening of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in 1982: &ldquo;I recall the looks on their faces, the sadness, the lingering feelings that there was a certain resentment.&rdquo;</p>

<p>Twenty years later on this Memorial Day, the Vietnam war memorial wall will be rededicated in an effort to rectify such sentiments. Twenty years later on this Memorial Day, how will you honor the sacrifice of the three million Vietnam War service members?</p>


<p>Jason Kashdan is a student at Boston University and an intern for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.</p>

<p><img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/jason_headshot.jpg” alt=”" width=”100″ height=”121″ /></p>Sat, 26 May 2012 14:40:00 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/5/26/memorializing-vietnamOlympic Solidarity and Controversy http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/4/30/olympic-solidarity-and-controversyApril 30, 2012 5:00 p.m.

<p>”Friendships are born on the field of athletic strife and the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” &ndash;Jesse Owens</p>


<p>In 1936 African American sprinter <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/owens/”>Jesse Owens</a> amazed the world by breaking Olympic records and winning four gold medals in Berlin, the headquarters of Hitler’s Nazi regime. However, in classic Olympic fashion, Owens became known not only for his athletic triumphs, but for his epic embrace with Aryan German competitor Luz Long and for the social barriers he broke down in the face of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Rather than protesting “Hitler’s Games,” Owens used his position in the spotlight to display the greatness and compassion that can be achieved outside of the political and cultural constraints of society.</p>

<p>These are not random occurrences in Olympic history — they are the defining moments through which one can view world history, politics, and humanity. The contrast between tensions often displayed between countries at the Olympics and solidarity between Olympians is a strong virtue of the Games that can be seen not only in Owens’ case, but also throughout Olympic history.</p>

<p>Like many other stories from Olympic Games that took place in times of political or cultural strife, Jesse Owens’ story is remarkable on its own. Still, it can be expanded to teach lessons about the general atmosphere of the Olympics as well as lessons about the cultural, social and political situation the world might be in as athletes gather to compete against and support one another every four years at the Olympics. Here are some of the most prominent Olympic controversies:</p>

<p>1908 – The Grand Duchy of Finland competes separately from the Russian Empire, and Ireland separately from Great Britain, but both breakaway groups are prohibited from displaying their respective flags.</p>

<p>1908 – John Taylor becomes the first African American athlete to win a gold medal.</p>

<p>1912 – A decathlon silver medalist refuses to accept his medal after the gold-medal winner was unjustly denied his medal.</p>

<p>1916 – Olympic Games are cancelled due to outbreak of World War I.</p>

<p>1919 – Location of 1920 Games is changed from Budapest to Antwerp to avoid affiliation with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the losers of World War I.</p>

<p>1920 – Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Turkey, the losers of World War I, are not invited to participate in the Olympic Games.</p>

<p>1932 – Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi is deemed ineligible to compete because he is considered a professional athlete. Despite his disqualification, Nurmi travels to the Olympic Village to continue training. In a display of solidarity, his peers in the Olympic marathon stand behind Nurmi and beg to have the ban against him lifted, but to no avail.</p>

<p>1936 – Debates arise around the world as to the morality of attending the Olympics in Berlin under the Nazi regime. Jesse Owens famously becomes the first African American athlete to win four gold medals. This feat was made even more famous as it was rumored to have infuriated Hitler, the proponent of an Aryan nation. Owens’ visible camaraderie with German competitor Luz Long further intrigues the world.</p>

<p>1940 &amp; 1944 – Olympic Games are cancelled due to World War II.</p>

<p>1948 – Germany and Japan are not invited to compete, while the Soviet Union opts not to attend, despite having been invited</p>

<p>1956 – During the infamous “Blood in the Water” match between Hungary and the Soviet Union, athletes and spectators at a water polo match turn violent due to the Soviet Union’s recent invasion of Hungary.</p>

<p>1964 – South African athletes are banned from competing in the Olympics because of the widespread Apartheid in their country.</p>

<p>1968 – Two African American medalists perform the “Black Power” salute during the national anthem to symbolize black pride and unity in the face of racism. At the same time, Australian silver medalist Peter Norman stands in solidarity with his black co-medalists by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights.</p>

<p>1972 – Eleven Israeli athletes are taken hostage and then murdered by members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September in an attack related to the mounting tensions in the Middle East.</p>

<p>1980 – At the height of the Cold War’s reawakening, 62 countries fail to attend the Olympics in Moscow, many out of protest over Russia’s controversial invasion of Afghanistan.</p>

<p>What would you add to the list?</p>

<p>Jesse Owens premieres on PBS Tuesday, May 1, 2012.</p>

<p>Rose Just-Michael is a student at Brandeis University and an intern at AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. <img src=”http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/rose.jpg” alt=”" width=”100″ height=”150″ /></p>Mon, 30 Apr 2012 17:00:00 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/4/30/olympic-solidarity-and-controversyThe Series Wins a Peabody http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/4/4/peabodyApril 04, 2012 5:00 p.m.
<p>American Experience, television’s longest-running and most-watched history series, was honored this morning with a <a href=”http://www.peabody.uga.edu/” target=”_blank”>George Foster Peabody Award</a>, widely considered the most prestigious award for electronic media. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, American Experience is produced by public broadcaster WGBH Boston and airs on PBS stations nationwide.</p>

<p>Three American Experience films were singled out to represent the series&rsquo; body of work: <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/triangle/”>Triangle Fire</a>, telling the story a deadly workplace accident that forever changed the industry of the American factory; <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/freedomriders/”>Freedom Riders</a>, recounting the bravery of black and white Americans who took a stand against racism in one of the Civil Rights Movement’s first decisive victories; and <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/stonewall/”>Stonewall Uprising</a>, documenting 1969 protests that marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around theworld. These three documentaries will be honored under the banner of American Experience as a series.</p>

<p>&ldquo;Only at WGBH would we be able to create films like these that tell the stories of ordinary people working to improve the unfolding project that is America,&rdquo; said Executive Producer <a href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/about/team/executive-producer/”>Mark Samels</a>. WGBH Vice President for National Programming Margaret Drain added, &ldquo;We are thrilled that one of WGBH&rsquo;s signature series is being recognized with television&rsquo;s most prestigious award.&rdquo;</p>

<p>The Peabody Awards will be formally presented at a luncheon ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on May 21. Sir Patrick Stewart, star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Macbeth, will be the host. The Peabody Awards recognize excellence and meritorious work by radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. The 16-member Peabody Board is a distinguished panel of television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts. Selection is made by the Board following review by special screening committees of UGA faculty, students, and staff.</p>Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:00:00 -0400http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2012/4/4/peabody

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