Biography & Profiles

The Presidents: Clinton

Friday, February 17, 2012
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How to Take On a Kennedy

By Phillip Martin   |   Thursday, February 16, 2012
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Feb. 17, 2012


John, Robert and Ted in 1948. (American Experience)

BOSTON — The Kennedy name evokes a legacy of public service, tragedy and scandal. While the family's influence has waned over the years, lingering veneration of the Kennedy past continues to make the members of that lineage formidable political opponents in spite of well-publicized scandals over the generations. Joseph P. Kennedy III is the latest scion to run for political office. His competitors will join a long list of individuals who have tried to best Kennedy family members — with mixed results. We look into WGBH's archives for an answer to the question many have asked: How can you effectively challenge a Kennedy?

Archival co-production by Elizabeth Deane.

WGBH's "American Experience" looks at the family's political history in "The Kennedys." More resources.

Watch The Kennedys on PBS. See more from American Experience.

Without the Great Migration, There Would Be No Motown

By WGBH News   |   Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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Feb. 14, 2012


Veteran entertainer Smokey Robinson expresses his surprises and delight midway through his performance Friday, June 15, 1981 at Los Angeles Greek Theatre, after he was joined by friend and fellow entertainer Berry Gordy, president and founder of Motown Records. (AP Photo/Adlen)

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and Boston University professor Isabel Wilkerson interviewed more than 1200 people to discuss The Great Migration--the epic 20th century flight of millions of southern black, US citizens who sought a better life in northern cities like Chicago and Detroit.

In this excerpt from an hour-long discussion of her book at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, captured by the WGBH Forum Network, Wilkerson points out how much of America's musical legacy is due to some musicians' families making that trek with the hope of giving their kids more opportunities.

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Rubin Carter: The Hurricane

By Jordan Weinstein   |   Thursday, February 9, 2012
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Ruben Carter
Ruben Carter
Feb. 9, 2012

BOSTON — In honor of Black History Month, we look back at the life of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a prize fighter who was wrongly convicted twice for murder. His life was portrayed in the film "The Hurricane", starring Denzel Washington.

Carter was convicted of murder in 1966 and 1976. After serving 20 years in prison, the convictions were overturned.

WGBH talked with David Freudberg, host of the WGBH program, Humankind. Freudberg had the chance to sit down and talk with Hurricane Carter.

You can hear more of David's interview with Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and hear from the federal judge who overturned the conviction this Sunday night at 6pm on WGBH Radio's Humankind program.

From The WGBH Vault: Martin Luther King Jr.

By Bob Seay, Elizabeth Deane & WGBH Archives Staff   |   Friday, January 13, 2012
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Jan. 16, 2012

BOSTON — On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we look back at a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights, captured in three gripping, exclusive interviews from the WGBH archives.

It was the spring of 1963, a few months after Alabama governor George Wallace called for “segregation forever” and a few months before the March on Washington, when WGBH producer Henry Morgenthau III and director Fred Barzyk filmed “The Negro and the American Promise,”  featuring author James Baldwin, Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The interviews reveal deep disagreement about the way forward for the movement and give a sense of the intense pressure on King. The interviewer is psychologist Kenneth Clark.

Martin Luther King Jr. (June 1963)

"There's a great deal of difference between non-resistance to evil and non-violent resistance. Non-resistance leaves you in a state of stagnant passivity and dead-end complacency. Wherein non-violent resistance means you do resist in a very strong and determined manner." Read a transcript of the interview.

James Baldwin (May 24, 1963)

This segment was filmed immediately after a frustrating three-hour meeting with Robert F. Kennedy — the so-called "secret meeting" — to discuss the racial situation in northern cities. You can see Baldwin take a moment to collect his thoughts at the start of the conversation. Read a transcript of the interview.

Malcolm X (June 1963)

"You don't integrate with a sinking ship. You don't do anything to further your stay on board a ship that you see is on its way down to the bottom of the ocean." Read a transcript of the interview.

Few people get to go inside the WGBH vault... a temperature-controlled storage room that houses thousands of tapes and recordings. It's a room full of living history and it helps WGBH News provide a perspective no one else has. Check out some of the materials, including original newscast coverage of the March on Washington, at Open Vault.

The Wild West

Thursday, January 5, 2012
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WGBH's American Experience launches its 24th season with a month-long re-examination of some of the most controversial and mythic figures of the Wild West.

Billy the Kid
Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 9pm
The boy behind the myth, who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan to the most feared man in the West and an enduring icon. Watch online.

Custer’s Last Stand
Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 8pm
The Last Stand, the final act of General George Custer's larger-than-life career, played out on a grand stage with a spellbound public engrossed in the drama. Watch online.

Wyatt Earp
Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 8pm
A central figure in the narrative of how the west was won, Wyatt Earp and his story became an American legend. Watch online.

Annie Oakley
Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 8pm
As the star attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Annie Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her shooting feats. Watch a preview.

Jessie JamesJessie James
Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 9pm
America's Robin Hood who robbed not only the rich but the poor and defenseless as well, always saving the treasure for himself.

American Experience airs Tuesday evenings on WGBH 2.

More at

About the Authors
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 
Jordan Weinstein Jordan Weinstein
Jordan Weinstein is a news anchor for NPR's All Things Considered on WGBH, 89.7 FM in Boston.
Bob Seay Bob Seay
Bob Seay is the host of NPR's Morning Edition on 89.7FM WGBH Radio. He got his start in radio during college at WMUH, got involved with WGBH TV while in graduate school at Boston University and formerly hosted ME at WRNI in Rhode Island.


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