American Experience: Season 23 (2011)

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Season 23
American Experience

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 3, 2011

Few figures in U.S. military history are as divisive as General Robert E. Lee (1807-70). Adored by some for his heroic leadership of the Confederacy during the Civil War - to such a degree that countless statues still commemorate him in the American South - and resented or loathed by others for the southern cause that he promulgated, Lee continues to court endless fascination. This episode of PBS's American Experience documentary series explores Lee's life, accomplishments and reputation, with a particularly strong emphasis on his string of military victories and the idolization surrounding Lee in the 140 years that followed his death.

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Air date: Jan 10, 2011

A profile of Ulysses S. Grant, chronicling how he rose from obscurity to become a Civil War hero whose exploits earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" and the admiration of the Northern public while, in the South, his hard-nosed tactics led him to be labeled a butcher.

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Air date: Jan 17, 2011

This historical documentary from the American Experience series explores the infamous story of paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, who discovered a massive cache of dinosaur fossils and remains while traveling in the American West in 1868. Insanely competitive, Marsh would spend the following years fighting other scientists tooth and nail for the sole use of the site - even at the sacrifice of scientific discovery.

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Air date: Jan 24, 2011

This reflective documentary from the Public Broadcasting Company explores the history of the Panama Canal, a project completed in 1914, revolutionizing the world of travel, trade, and industry, by allowing ships traveling from one U.S. coast to another to pass underneath Central America - instead of circumnavigating the Southernmost tip of South America.

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Air date: Jan 31, 2011

This historical documentary takes an in depth look at the 1881 scientific expedition led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely, who sailed with 25 men to Newfoundland in pursuit of the high Arctic, returning three years later with only three men having survived the ordeal.

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Air date: Feb 21, 2011

A profile of former president Jimmy Carter. In 1980, after one term, he lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan, receiving 41 percent of the popular vote. In the following years, however, he forged a new legacy as a respected statesman and humanitarian. The documentary charts his ascent during the turbulent 1970s; explores the role of his wife Rosalynn as his confidant and adviser; and details his successful post-presidency years.

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Air date: Feb 28, 2011

This documentary examines a horrific fire that killed 146 factory workers when it engulfed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on March 25, 1911. The filmmakers explain how that particular factory had been a focal point in the battle for laborers to gain more rights on the job.

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Air date: Apr 11, 2011

This documentary takes an in-depth look at the U.S.'s role in the Russian Revolution, exploring how a nation facing famine and desperation evolved into the Soviet USSR that would come to be perhaps the greatest enemy and rival nation the United States ever faced.

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Air date: Apr 25, 2011

This historical documentary tells the story of the infamous Sonewall Uprising -- a police raid launched on a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village in the early '60s -- not for its ties to the Mafia, but for its ties to the gay community. Saddled with prejudice and oppression at every other turn in conservative society, the gays and lesbians did something unprecedented in response to the raid, by fighting back.

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Air date: May 9, 2011

"Even as we were thrown in jail someone would sing a song," recalls Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in this history of the civil-rights movement and its freedom music, featuring potent performances by John Legend, the Roots, Wyclef Jean, Angie Stone, Joss Stone, Mary Mary, and Anthony Hamilton and the Blind Boys of Alabama. The documentary charts the years from the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott to 1968 MLK Jr. assassination; and includes remarks from Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Andrew Young.

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