Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - The Ken Burns Collection (X) - U.S. History (X)

Paul Goldberger Discusses the Beauty of the Bridge | Ken Burns: Brooklyn Bridge

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Architecture critic Paul Goldberger discusses how the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge has moved poets, painters, sculptors, and architects to sing its praises in the hundred years it has stood.

Photographers of the Dust Bowl | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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During the Great Depression, FDR's administration sought to document the economic crisis. Roosevelt's Farm Security Administration (FSA) was put in charge of the effort, which employed some of the country's most talented photographers.

Louis Armstrong Returns to Europe | Ken Burns: Jazz

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Louis Armstrong's triumphant return to Europe.

Chiura Obata: Great Nature | Ken Burns: The National Parks

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Chiura Obata discusses nature and its impact on his art.

Arthur Rothstein | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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Arthur Rothstein was 21 years old when he went to "No Man's Land" to take pictures for the federal government's Resettlement Administration. Over the course of seven years the government would amass over 200,000 images of America in the 1930s.

The Savoy Ballroom | Ken Burns: Jazz

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Exuberant dancing takes place at the Savoy Ballroom.

The Master of the Pause | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain was a genius of the stage. He had a long drawl and used silence to his advantage. The pauses were the preludes to a cascade of humor.

Power of Sound | Ken Burns: Empire of the Air

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Radio producer and dramatist Norman Corwin talks about the power of sound. It can set a mood for romance with crickets, and frighten with thunder. Radio was the medium that employed the magic of sound.

Woody Guthrie | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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Woody Guthrie moves to Los Angeles in the second half of the 1930s and supports himself with odd jobs. He finally gets a radio show of his own and a newspaper column called, "Woody Sez." He gains a reputation as a radical for sympathizing with the migrants.

Sister Mildred Barker | Ken Burns: The Shakers

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Sister Mildred Barker discusses ritual movements that evolved after Ann Lee's death. The Shakers believed that dancing brought them closer to God. When Ann Lee died, the dancing changed.

Earl Bennett on Benton's Work | Ken Burns: Thomas Hart Benton

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Earl Bennett, a former student of Thomas Hart Benton, talks about the beauty in Benton's work. Benton found and painted the beauty that he saw in the everyday things. For example, his paintings might be of an old farmer, hogs, a beat-up steamboat, cotton pickers, minstrals, and more.

Boom Time | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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The Great Plains goes through a boom period as land speculators tout the miraculous advantages of farming wheat. Government and private industry encourage the settlement and development of the region.

Recovery | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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In 1935, 850 million acres of topsoil are swept off the Great Plains, with more dust storms to come. President Franklin Roosevelt's inner circle does not want the area to turn into an "Arabian Desert."

Mechanized Agriculture | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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Modern machinery made wheat farming more efficient and profitable.

Reform | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

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In the summer of 1936, Roosevelt takes a whistle-stop tour across the Midwest and Northern Plains to see the crisis himself. He inspires the enthusiastic but weary audiences. At the same time, Hugh Bennett, head of the Soil Conservation Service, begins instituting his program of agricultural reform and offering incentives to those farmers who will adopt the new farming methods.

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