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Ken Burns American Stories Previous Broadcasts

Thomas Jefferson, Part 1 - Life/Liberty: Our Sacred Honor (Episode #105)

KQED 9: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

Thomas Jefferson is by most accounts the most admired and greatest figure in American history. However, he was a man whose behavior in many ways contradicted his public declarations. He supported resistance and revolution in America and France, yet was not a charismatic politician or front-line soldier. His eloquence was immortalized in the Declaration of Independence, which declared that "All men are created equal." He disapproved of the slave trade, yet owned over 200 human beings and had no intention of granting them their freedom. A Renaissance man in his own right, Jefferson was an architect, writer, surveyor, statesman and scientist. Sam Waterston provides the voice of Thomas Jefferson in this Ken Burns documentary.

In part 1 of this two-part biographical portrait, Jefferson's beginnings in Virginia are detailed from his education at William & Mary, the building of Monticello, to his marriage and children. Jefferson is called to Philadelphia as a statesman, and to Paris after the American revolution as an official diplomat. While Jefferson was laying the foundations of a new government and country, his work was tragically interrupted by a series of personal losses at his Monticello home.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Sat, Oct 30, 2010 -- 3:00 PM
  • KQED Life: Sat, Oct 30, 2010 -- 2:00 AM
  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 -- 8:00 PM
  • KQED 9: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 -- 3:00 AM

Thomas Jefferson - Liberty: The Age of Experiments/The Pursuit of Happiness (Episode #106)

KQED 9: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 -- 10:30 PM

As one of America's founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson is considered by some to be the man of the second millennium, analogous to the progress of the first 200 years of American history. He was a man of freedom and expansion, yet he had the restraint that is necessary to succeed with that freedom - the commitment to becoming learned and skilled. As the third president of the United States, Jefferson was responsible for doubling the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase and for assigning Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to their historic expedition of the West - moves that were symbolic of Jefferson's yearning for personal growth. In this episode, Jefferson's battles with the Federalist movement are explored; as well as his controversial relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings; his retirement to Monticello; and the ensuing personal tragedies that surrounded him towards the end of his life.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Sat, Oct 30, 2010 -- 4:30 PM
  • KQED Life: Sat, Oct 30, 2010 -- 3:30 AM
  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 -- 9:30 PM
  • KQED 9: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 -- 4:30 AM

Mark Twain (Part Two) (Episode #108)

KQED Plus: Sun, Oct 10, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

In part two, Burns explores the other side of the writer - an American icon who, through tragedy and bad financial decisions, falls hard with failure. In contrast to the wildly successful Twain, Clemens is an inept businessman who squanders his fortunes on pipe dream patents and bad investments. Clemens turns to the lecture circuit and tours extensively, leaving behind his beloved Hartford home and, often, his family, to pay off his creditors.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Oct 11, 2010 -- 3:00 AM

Mark Twain (Part One) (Episode #107)

KQED Plus: Sun, Oct 3, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

Ken Burns creates an illuminating and touching portrait of Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens, one of the greatest writers in American history. His subject is the man who created an American literature. In his time, Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. Keith David narrates the two-part documentary, which includes interviews with Arthur Miller, William Styron, Hal Holbrook and others, and more than 600 still photographs gathered from more than 100 different archives.

In the first half, Burns takes viewers on a journey through Sam Clemens' early days along the Mississippi River, to the small river town of Hannibal, Missouri. Clemens grows up, stumbling from adventure to adventure until he begins to evolve into Mark Twain, the humorist and writer who would revolutionize the way Americans viewed themselves and their language. The episode ends with the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel that has been banned in hundreds of libraries and schools across the country ever since.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 -- 3:00 AM

Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery - Part 2 (Episode #202)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 19, 2010 -- 8:00 PM

Sent by President Thomas Jefferson to find the fabled Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the most important expedition in American history - a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the headwaters of the Missouri River, over the Continental Divide to the Pacific. It was the United States' first exploration of the West and one of the nation's most enduring adventures. This program tells the remarkable story of the entire corps - not just the two famous captains, but the young army men, French-Canadian boatmen, Clark's African-American slave and the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea, who brought along her infant son. Hal Holbrook narrates.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 -- 2:00 AM

Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery - Part 1 (Episode #201)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 -- 8:00 PM

Sent by President Thomas Jefferson to find the fabled Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the most important expedition in American history - a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the headwaters of the Missouri River, over the Continental Divide to the Pacific. It was the United States' first exploration of the West and one of the nation's most enduring adventures. This program tells the remarkable story of the entire corps - not just the two famous captains, but the young army men, French-Canadian boatmen, Clark's African-American slave and the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea, who brought along her infant son. Hal Holbrook narrates.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 -- 2:00 AM

Huey Long (Episode #113)

KQED Plus: Sun, Oct 31, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

This documentary about the life and times of Huey P. Long, the populist governor and senator of Louisiana in the 1930s, features rare archival material with commentary from those who knew Long and those who studied him. David McCullough narrates.

The Congress (Episode #117)

KQED Plus: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

For 200 years, the United States Congress has been one of the country's most important and least understood institutions. In this elegant, thoughtful and often touching portrait, Ken Burns explores the history and promise of this unique American institution. Using historical photographs and newsreels, evocative live footage and interviews with David Broder, Alistair Cooke, Cokie Roberts, Charles McDowell and others, the award-winning film chronicles the personalities, events and issues that have animated the first 200 years of Congress and, in turn, our country.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 -- 3:00 AM

Brooklyn Bridge (Episode #104)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 19, 2010 -- 10:00 PM

Today it's a symbol of strength and vitality. When it was built in the 1870s, it was a source of controversy. This documentary examines the great problems and ingenious solutions that marked the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. From conception to construction, it traces the bridge's transformation from a spectacular feat of heroic engineering to an honored symbol in American culture. David McCullough narrates.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 -- 4:00 AM

The Statue of Liberty (Episode #101)

KQED 9: Sat, Oct 2, 2010 -- 7:00 PM

This Academy Award-nominated documentary tells the unique story of the monument's creation, from her complicated construction in France to her arrival at New York's Bedloe's Island, later renamed Liberty Island. The program examines what this symbol of liberty means today to foreigners and Americans. The film combines historical material, film footage and interviews with figures such as former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, film director Milos Forman, authors James Baldwin and Jerzy Kosinski, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, singer Ray Charles, playwright Arthur Miller and former ambassador Sol Linowitz. David McCullough narrates.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 -- 4:00 AM
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 -- 10:00 PM
  • KQED World: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 -- 4:00 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Oct 3, 2010 -- 10:00 PM
  • KQED World: Sun, Oct 3, 2010 -- 5:00 AM
  • KQED 9: Sun, Oct 3, 2010 -- 1:00 AM
  • KQED World: Sat, Oct 2, 2010 -- 11:00 PM
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