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American Experience Season 13

Here's where to watch every episode of American Experience season 13. Mouseover or tap an episode to see where to stream it. Click or tap the play icon to stream it on the best available service.
Season 13, Episode 01 The Rockefellers (1)

S13 E01

Oct 17, 2000
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The Rockefellers (1) Oct 17, 2000 A dramatic two-part profile of the Rockefellers, a family whose name is synonymous with wealth, begins. Part 1 traces how John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) struck oil (figuratively) in the 1860s and parlayed it into a corporate behemoth that the Supreme Court had to break up in 1911. It also examines how he and his son John D. Jr. (1874-1960) lived with that money -- and the hatred it engendered. The family's strategy: philanthropy. David Ogden Stiers narrates.

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Season 13, Episode 02 The Rockefellers (2)

S13 E02

Oct 24, 2000
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The Rockefellers (2) Oct 24, 2000 The conclusion of a profile of the Rockefellers explores how John D. Jr. accomplished "the seemingly impossible task of redeeming the family name," says narrator David Ogden Stiers. "Junior" (1874-1960) did that by giving away $500 million, much of it while his father (1839-1937) enjoyed a vigorous retirement. The show also charts the fortunes of the next generation of Rockefellers, chiefly second son Nelson, the long-time New York governor. Many of their children rebelled. "The real problem," says Steven Rockefeller, "is the integration of power and goodness."

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Season 13, Episode 03 Secrets of a Master Builder

S13 E03

Oct 31, 2000
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Secrets of a Master Builder Oct 31, 2000 Charting the life on the Mississippi of James B. Eads (1820-1887), "one of the greatest engineering geniuses of all time," says narrator David McCullough. Eads designed, built and financed ironclad river gunships in the Civil War (helping the Union win it, some say), the first steel bridge over the Mississippi, and sandbar-busting jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi that helped ensure the economic viability of New Orleans and the river itself.

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Season 13, Episode 04 Return with Honor

S13 E04

Nov 14, 2000
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Return with Honor Nov 14, 2000 Vietnam POWs recall their ordeals -- at times with great poignancy -- in a first-person history that supplements the comments with North Vietnamese war footage. As the veterans describe it here, their mission was simple, but not easy. "We were determined to return to the U.S. with honor," is the way that Air Force major Fred Cherry puts it. "We were not going to collaborate with the enemy. And we were going to look out for each other." Tom Hanks introduces the film.

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Season 13, Episode 05 The Hurricane of '38

S13 E05

Jan 13, 2001
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The Hurricane of '38 Jan 13, 2001 "The Hurricane of '38" is recalled by survivors of the storm that devastated Rhode Island and eastern Long Island, claiming nearly 700 lives and destroying 4500 homes. Included: archival and home-movie footage.

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Season 13, Episode 06 Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind

S13 E06

Feb 13, 2001
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Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind Feb 13, 2001 Recalling racial-pride advocate Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), whose grand (some said grandiose) vision included an Africa run by Africans. Garvey's Harlem-based United Negro Improvement Association was more than just a civil-rights group -- it was a business and publishing empire. But it wasn't a well-run one, and his story doesn't have a happy ending (due, in part, to a young Justice Department lawyer named J. Edgar Hoover). Still, says narrator Carl Lumbly, Garvey "changed forever the way black Americans looked at themselves and the world.

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Season 13, Episode 07 Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, Part I

S13 E07

Feb 20, 2001
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Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, Part I Feb 20, 2001 Part 1 and 2 of a six-part chronicle of the Abraham Lincoln-Mary Todd relationship begins with their childhoods and courtship. He, of course, was born into poverty; she, however, grew up in luxury, the daughter of a Kentucky banker and slave owner. (Several of her brothers would die fighting for the South in the Civil War.) While he was something of a rube when they met, she was the opposite, polished and refined. Yet they shared something in common: a love of politics. The marriage of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln proves to be a tempestuous affair accented by her temper, his depression and their political ambitions. Included: his elections to the U.S. House of Representatives and, later, the presidency.

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Season 13, Episode 08 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (2): We Are Elected

S13 E08

Feb 21, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (2): We Are Elected Feb 21, 2001 Part 3 and 4. When the Lincolns arrive in Washington, D.C., in 1861, the president-elect is deemed untested and is mistrusted; Mary, meanwhile, is suspected of being a Confederate sympathizer due to being the daughter of a Southern slave owner. As Abraham deals with the national tragedy of the Civil War, the couple also face a tragedy much closer to home: the 1862 death of their son Willie. The aftermath of son Willie's death finds Mary turning to spiritualists for comfort and, perhaps, slipping from sanity. President Lincoln, however, has another matter larger than his own grief that demands attention---the war. Included: the step he took that changed the nature of the conflict, the Emancipation Proclamation, which he issued on Jan. 1, 1863.

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Season 13, Episode 09 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (3): Shattered

S13 E09

Feb 22, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (3): Shattered Feb 22, 2001 Part 5 and 6 recalls 1863, when opposition to the Civil War spread among Northerners: some see the high level of casualties as unacceptable, while others resent fighting to free black slaves. Abraham Lincoln, understandably, becomes anxious. Mary Todd Lincoln, meanwhile, copes by spending money compulsively, and falls into debt as a result. Conclusion. The final 16 months of the Civil War are charted, including the battle at Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln's battlefield dedication and, just days after the South's surrender at Appomattox, his assassination. Included: Abraham's dedication to bringing the South into the Union; Mary's private wish for revenge.

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Season 13, Episode 10 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (4): The Dearest of All Things

S13 E10

Apr 3, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (4): The Dearest of All Things Apr 3, 2001 Part 4 of 6. The aftermath of son Willie's death finds Mary turning to spiritualists for comfort and, perhaps, slipping from sanity. President Lincoln, however, has another matter larger than his own grief that demands attention---the war. Included: the step he took that changed the nature of the conflict, the Emancipation Proclamation, which he issued on Jan. 1, 1863.

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Season 13, Episode 11 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (5): The Frightful War

S13 E11

Feb 22, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (5): The Frightful War Feb 22, 2001 Part 5 of 6 recalls 1863, when opposition to the Civil War spread among Northerners: some see the high level of casualties as unacceptable, while others resent fighting to free black slaves. Abraham Lincoln, understandably, becomes anxious. Mary Todd Lincoln, meanwhile, copes by spending money compulsively, and falls into debt as a result.

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Season 13, Episode 12 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (6): Blind with Weeping

S13 E12

Apr 24, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (6): Blind with Weeping Apr 24, 2001 Conclusion. The final 16 months of the Civil War are charted, including the battle at Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln's battlefield dedication and, just days after the South's surrender at Appomattox, his assassination. Included: Abraham's dedication to bringing the South into the Union; Mary's private wish for revenge.

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Season 13, Episode 13 Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

S13 E13

Apr 17, 2001
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Scottsboro: An American Tragedy Apr 17, 2001 Following the 17-year struggle to free nine blacks falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931. The struggle, which involved communist activists and laid the groundwork for the civil-rights movement, is chronicled involvingly in vintage stills and clips, comments by historians and readings by actors (including Stanley Tucci and Frances McDormand). "In the end, the state of Alabama bowed to reason," says narrator Andre Braugher, "and to exhaustion."

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Season 13, Episode 14 Fatal Flood

S13 E14

Apr 17, 2001
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Fatal Flood Apr 17, 2001 Recalling the tidal wave of racial conflict that followed in the wake of the surging Mississippi as it inundated the delta town of Greenville, Miss., in April 1927. Greenville's leading planter, LeRoy Percy, was a racial moderate, but he joined other planters in refusing to allow their black workers to be evacuated for fear of losing their labor supply. Those workers were placed "at the end of the line" for Red Cross supplies, as one remembers, and tension grew.

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Season 13, Episode 15 Stephen Foster

S13 E15

May 1, 2001
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Stephen Foster May 1, 2001 A profile of quintessentially American composer Stephen Foster features interviews with historian Fath Ruffins, biographer Ken Emerson, musicologists Josephine Wright and Dale Cockrell, and modern-day musicians influenced by Foster's work.

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Season 13, Episode 16 Streamliners: America's Last Trains

S13 E16

Nov 18, 1993
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Streamliners: America's Last Trains Nov 18, 1993 Recalling the stainless steel trains that crisscrossed the country in high style (and at speeds of greater than 100 mph) during the 1930s and '40s. The streamliners -- most notably the Union Pacific's "Little Zip" and the Burlington Railroad's Zephyr -- increased railroad ridership (and profits) dramatically, led to a sleek-is-chic design revolution and even offered a measure of psychological uplift during the Depression.

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Season 13, Episode 17 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (4): The Dearest of All Things

S13 E17

Feb 20, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (4): The Dearest of All Things Feb 20, 2001 Mary struggles with personal grief, as Abraham Lincoln becomes consumed with the nation's tragedy.

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Season 13, Episode 18 Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (2): We Are Elected

S13 E18

Feb 19, 2001
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Abraham And Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (2): We Are Elected Feb 19, 2001 Sheds light on the Lincoln marriage during Abraham's time in Congress and his run for president.

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