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American Experience Season 5

Here's where to watch every episode of American Experience season 5. 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 05, Episode 01 The Kennedys (1): The Father, 1900-61

S05 E01

Sep 21, 1992
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The Kennedys (1): The Father, 1900-61 Sep 21, 1992 No family has had such a powerful hold on the American imagination. A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy, the Kennedy story is unlike any other. From Joseph Kennedy's rise on Wall Street and frustrations in politics, through John Kennedy's march to the presidency -- orchestrated by his father - -to Edward Kennedy's withdrawal from the 1980 presidential race following the scandal of Chappaquidick, the family has left a legacy that continues to influence politics today.

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Season 05, Episode 02 The Kennedys (2): The Sons, 1961-80

S05 E02

Sep 22, 1992
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The Kennedys (2): The Sons, 1961-80 Sep 22, 1992 No family has had such a powerful hold on the American imagination. A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy, the Kennedy story is unlike any other. From Joseph Kennedy's rise on Wall Street and frustrations in politics, through John Kennedy's march to the presidency -- orchestrated by his father - -to Edward Kennedy's withdrawal from the 1980 presidential race following the scandal of Chappaquidick, the family has left a legacy that continues to influence politics today.

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Season 05, Episode 03 The Donner Party

S05 E03

Oct 29, 1992
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The Donner Party Oct 29, 1992 Of all the 19th century pioneer stories, none exerts so powerful a hold on the American imagination as this, during the worst winter ever recorded in the High Sierras. In June, 1846, 87 men, women and children began their legendary 2,000 mile journey from Illinois to California. They packed huge wagons, took food, hired servants. When family leaders made the fateful decision to take an untried short cut to beat the coming winter, only half would come out alive.

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Season 05, Episode 04 The Johnstown Flood

S05 E04

Nov 6, 1992
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The Johnstown Flood Nov 6, 1992 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.

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Season 05, Episode 05 Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II

S05 E05

Nov 5, 1992
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Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II Nov 5, 1992 They were African-American soldiers. They were inducted into a rigidly segregated army. They trained in white America. Their commanders never intended to send them into battle, and yet African-American soldiers fought through six European countries into the heart of the most violently racist empire the world has ever known. The victims of nazi terror would never forget them.

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Season 05, Episode 06 George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King

S05 E06

Nov 19, 1992
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George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King Nov 19, 1992 He was bumbling, yet ambitious. He volunteered to serve his country, but insisted on being reimbursed for expenses. He was the most famous general of the Revolution but a dismal tactician on the battlefield. Greedy and selfish, service to the colonies would profoundly change him. The man who came to symbolize the American Revolution could also be incredibly brave, generous and an inspirational leader who scorned attempts to participate in any system but a democratic one.

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Season 05, Episode 07 Last Stand at Little Big Horn

S05 E07

Nov 26, 1992
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Last Stand at Little Big Horn Nov 26, 1992 In 1876, when the U.S. Army planned its biggest Indian campaign yet against Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, General George Custer led the chase. Custer and his 210 men were surprised and surrounded, the result of arrogance, bad planning and bad intelligence. The battle took "about as much time as it takes a hungry man to eat dinner," leaving no white survivors. One of the most frequently depicted and least understood moments in American history, the story is told from both sides.

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Season 05, Episode 08 Ishi: The Last Yahi Indian

S05 E08

Dec 3, 1992
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Ishi: The Last Yahi Indian Dec 3, 1992 When "Ishi," the last surviving member of a small Indian tribe, walked into the small California town of Oroville in 1911, he became a media curiosity and scientific "specimen." The San Francisco Museum built a Yahi house where audiences could watch Ishi make arrowheads and shoot bows. Ishi went to the theater and received invitations of marriage. But contact would bring him terrible physical and psychological consequences.

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Season 05, Episode 09 If You Knew Sousa

S05 E09

Jan 12, 1993
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If You Knew Sousa Jan 12, 1993 John Phillip Sousa became America's favorite bandmaster, but band music wasn't Sousa's only passion. He was the first to bring the classics -- Verdi, Wagner, Puccini -- to a burgeoning American middle class. Wildly popular, his was the first large musical organization to go on tour and make music pay. He helped give birth to that great American institution, the small town marching band.

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Season 05, Episode 10 Simple Justice

S05 E10

Jan 19, 1993
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Simple Justice Jan 19, 1993 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.

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Season 05, Episode 11 Sit Down And Fight

S05 E11

Feb 2, 1993
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Sit Down And Fight Feb 2, 1993 In 1936, Walter Reuther led one of the bitterest, bloodiest battles ever fought in the history of the American labor movement. By sitting down and stopping the machinery of factory production, auto workers forced the Big Three to recognize their union. GM tried turning off the heat and blocking food deliveries and Ford sent members of their private security force to beat up UAW officials, but workers stood their ground.

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Season 05, Episode 12 Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish

S05 E12

Feb 9, 1993
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Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish Feb 9, 1993 When he died in 1931 in a plane crash on his way to Hollywood to sign a film contract, the President called it a "national loss." The funeral was broadcast live on CBS Radio to Europe, South America and Asia. As Notre Dame's football coach, Knute Rockne galvanized attention to his "Fighting Irish" and was a pivotal figure in the sudden rise of sports to a position of enormous power in American life.

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Season 05, Episode 13 Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

S05 E13

Jan 20, 1994
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Rachel Carson's Silent Spring Jan 20, 1994 She had been a biologist for the federal government when she first took note of the effects of the unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides, especially DDT. Magazines refused to publish her articles because they were afraid of losing advertising. When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1963, she was viciously attacked, called "an ignorant and hysterical woman." But her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.

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Season 05, Episode 14 French Dance Tonight

S05 E14

Mar 2, 1993
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French Dance Tonight Mar 2, 1993 When French settlers, exiled from Nova Scotia, migrated to Louisiana in the 1750s, they mixed with African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, and others to create one of America's richest, most varied cultures. The film captures many of Cajun and Zydeco music's most important innovators and performers as they talk about the emergence of two musical traditions.

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Season 05, Episode 15 Goin' Back to T-Town

S05 E15

Mar 2, 1993
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Goin' Back to T-Town Mar 2, 1993 In Tulsa,the community of Greenwood was a place where blacks had some measure of financial, social and political independence. Burned to the ground in 1921 by angry whites, Greenwood was rebuilt and boasted the largest concentration of black businesses in the country. In a nostalgic celebration of old fashioned neighborhood life, the black residents of "T-Town" relive their community's remarkable rise and ultimate decline.

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