Roads to Memphis
Monday, May 3 at 9:00 p.m. on WPBT2
A riveting crosscut narrative of a killer and his prey, ROADS TO MEMPHIS is the fateful story of an assassin and his target set against the seething, turbulent forces in American society that drove two men to their violent and tragic collision on April 4, 1968. Following the inexorably converging paths of James Earl Ray and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ROADS TO MEMPHIS is both an incisive portrait of an America on edge in that crisis-laden year and a cautionary tale of how the course of history can be forever altered by the actions of one individual.
Into the Deep
Monday, May 10 at 9:00 p.m. on WPBT2
INTO THE DEEP: AMERICA, WHALING, & THE WORLD, from filmmaker Ric Burns, tells the thrilling and epic story of three centuries of American whaling, and the unique relationship between American whalers and the giant creatures they hunted. The hunt for these mysterious, mammoth beings helped fueled the expansion of the American economy – propelled tiny backwater ports like Nantucket and New Bedford to the unrivalled center of the whaling world – and pioneered the first truly global enterprise America ever knew. At the height of the whaling industry, U.S. whale ships encircled the globe, a massive state-of-the-art fleet crewed by highly-skilled mariners whose ever-widening search for whales enabled them to chart the seven seas. The magnificent creatures were slaughtered for the precious oil that filled their massive heads, the high-quality illuminant that lit the drawing rooms of Europe and greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution.
Hurricane of '38
Monday, May 17 at 9:00 p.m. on WPBT2
In September of 1938, a great storm rose up on the African coast and began to cross the Atlantic. The National Weather Bureau predicted it would blow itself out at Cape Hatteras, just as such storms usually did. But there was nothing typical about this storm. Without sophisticated forecasting tools, the East Coast was taken by surprise as the storm suddenly headed north. Within 24 hours of the Weather Bureau’s benign forecast, the so-called “Florida cyclone” ripped into the New England coast with a fury that set off seismographs in Alaska. Expecting only heavy rains, people found themselves, virtually without warning, in the midst of the most devastating storm ever recorded in North America. Traveling at 60 m.p.h., with peak gust winds surging up to three times that speed, the storm killed some 600 people, destroyed 8,000 homes and wrecked 6,000 boats. This program follows the lives of fishermen, Shinnecock Indians and vacationers who were caught up in this incredible natural disaster.
Riding the Rails
Monday, May 24 at 9:00 p.m. on WPBT2
During the Depression-era in the 1930s, tens of thousands of teenagers hopped freight trains in search of a better life elsewhere. What they discovered was a mixture of adventure, camaraderie, hardship and loneliness. They saw a country in turmoil and found experiences that affected them for the rest of their lives — their ultimate freedom traded for despair, joblessness and even death. Through first-hand accounts, this program recalls the stories of teen drifters crisscrossing America during tough times. Richard Thomas narrates.
Visit the website at www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/.