Our American Storytellers
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots

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A Fatal Contradiction
Part of the Series: Freedom: A History of US
The Declaration of Independence stated "all men are created equal," but the nation's slaves were a glaring exception. The colonial slave trade and brutal life for African Americans on Southern plantations spark the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad. This episode explores the role of Frederick Douglass, and then looks…
We Come from People
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
Trace three guests' roots into the heart of slavery, revealing that there is no singular narrative and challenging preconceptions of an era that profoundly shaped our nation's sense of itself. Hip-hop artist Nas discovers a web of his slave ancestors and their intimate relationship with their slave master; award-winning actress…
Our People, Our Traditions
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
Three celebrated Americans who share not only a Jewish heritage but also a history of perseverance in the face of withering opposition. Tony Kushner delves into the history of the Holocaust to discover his ancestors' fate; Carole King discovers the origins of her family name and confronts the reality of…
House Divided
Part of the Series: The Unfinished Nation Series
Election of Abraham Lincoln spawns secession of seven states led by South Carolina. Confederate States form provisional government before Lincoln is inaugurated, take over two southern forts. Neither side believes there will be war, but attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate forces signals beginning of conflict. Both sides mobilize quickly.…
Born Champions
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
Three of America's greatest athletes, whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, were all cut off from their true origins. Billie Jean King learns the story of her grandmother, who had always kept her orphan status a secret. Derek Jeter confronts his ancestors' lives as…
Storytelling with Puppets and Props - Tips and Techniques
Two accomplished storytellers share their expertise on using puppets and props to enhance the art of storytelling. Schroeder Cherry uses several types of puppets to tell his educational story about the Underground Railroad, while Karen Quinn-Wisniewski entertains her audience of young children with classic fables and colorful puppets and props.…
Ida B. Wells: Crusader For Human Rights
Ida B. Wells walked the long road from slavery to freedom and equality. Born 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi to parents who were former slaves, she rose to challenge and strongly condemned American lynching in the South. Her work as teacher, journalist and human rights activist brought worldwide attention to…
Freedom Seekers: Stories From The Western Underground Railroad
Freedom Seekers brings an understanding of the regional issues relating to antebellum slavery and the antislavery movement that helped shape the western Underground Railroad. Slaves, with the help of stationmasters and conductors, had to dodge professional slave catchers, federal marshals, and slaveholders on a grueling thousand-mile journey to freedom. Viewer…
Whispers of Angels: A Story of the Underground Railroad
Defiant, brave and free, the great abolitionists Thomas Garrett, William Still and Harriet Tubman, along with hundreds of lesser known and nameless opponents of slavery, formed a Corridor of Courage stretching from Maryland's eastern shore through the length of Delaware to Philadelphia and beyond -- making the Underground Railroad a…
Civil War Minutes - Confederate
Part of the Series: Civil War Life Series
Though people often remember the generals and commanders from a major war, its outcome also depends largely on the nameless soldiers in the front lines. Illuminating little known history, CIVIL WAR MINUTES(r) - Confederate features rarely told stories of both the famous and average Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.…
The Ultimate Civil War Series: New Birth of Freedom
Part of the Series: The Ultimate Civil War Series
April 2, 1865 and the fall of Petersburg and Richmond. Lee surrenders to Grant and Sherman takes the surrender of the western Confederate Army. Lincoln's assassination and the second war over reconstruction and the citizenship of former slaves. The legacy of the war.
The Melting Pot
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
Three celebrity chefs who cook the food of their ancestors discover family members who have shaped their lives -- and America's cuisine. Tom Colicchio of "Top Chef" learns the hardships his family endured (famine, bandits) living in a tiny town in Northern Italy and celebrates the courage of his original…