History

Larry David and Bernie Sanders

Watch Bernie Sanders and Larry David Find Out They're Related

Larry David and Bernie Sanders have a lot in common, enough that David has played the senator and former presidential candidate on Saturday Night Live. But on Finding Your Roots, they discovered they're closer than they knew. Watch their reactions. 
Carmelo Anthony and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

How Genealogists Find Your Roots

Genealogy is now a multi-billion dollar business centered in Salt Lake City. Why has it grown so rapidly? What does tracking down ancestors involve? How has it changed in the past decades? And why Salt Lake City? A genealogist from Finding Your Roots answers.
IBM Tower and the Wrigley Building in 1986

From the Archive: The Chicago River

The upcoming The Chicago River Tour with Geoffrey Baer explores the river today. But what was the waterway like thirty years ago, back when the city center was only just beginning to be revitalized? Watch a tour from a 1986 episode of Chicago Tonight.
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Chicago

Chicago's First Mexican Church

A century ago, Mexicans first began settling in Chicago as laborers in the steel mills, packinghouses, and on the railroads. One South Chicago community eventually opened the first Mexican church in the city, first in an old army barracks right before the Depression.
"Above and Beyond" at the Harold Washington Library

Commemorating the Vietnam War Around Chicago

More than three million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and more than 58,000 American soldiers died in the Vietnam War. Nearly 3,000 American soldiers were from Illinois. What memorials, in various forms, exist near Chicago to honor them?
Mary Ann Vecchio kneels over the body of fellow student Jeffrey Miller, who was killed by Ohio National Guard troops during an antiwar demonstration at Kent State University. May 4, 1970. Photo: John Filo/Getty Images

From the Archive: A Vietnam Veteran Turned Protester

Hear excerpts from a 1977 Studs Terkel interview with Ron Kovic, the author of the best-selling memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which became an Oliver Stone film. "I know that the people of this country want to face up to the truth of that war," Kovic says.
Frontline: Abacus - Small Enough to Jail. Photo: Sean Lyness

The Only Bank Prosecuted for the 2008 Financial Crisis

In 2015, Abacus Federal Savings Bank was the 2,651st largest bank in the United States. It's also the only U.S. bank prosecuted for the 2008 financial crisis. Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams, discusses his Frontline documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
Vietnam veteran with a south Vietnamese friend.

A Timely Reunion Across Four Decades and the Globe

Phil Seymour promised a young Vietnamese boy a watch while he was serving as a Marine near the boy's village. He regretted his failure to follow through for forty years, until he reunited with Cam, forming a bond with him and his family, especially his daughter.
The poster of Apocalypse Now.

From the Archive: Siskel and Ebert on Vietnam Movies

In 1980, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel looked back on the films that tackled the Vietnam War, reviewing Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Hair, and, the one pro-war film, John Wayne's The Green Berets, among others. Hear their takes on Hollywood's contributions.
General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson. April 4, 1968. Photo: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Audiovisual Archives

From the Archive: General William Westmoreland

As Ken Burns's The Vietnam War approaches, watch excerpts from two 1976 WTTW interviews with General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968. The war "came about as the result of a series of very serious political blunders," he says.
Chicago Police outside the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Photo: Bea A. Carson

The Last Time the Democratic Party Was Torn Apart

The Democratic National Convention of August, 1968, held in Chicago, was a defining moment of the Vietnam era and a watershed in American politics. What actually happened during that devastating event that pitted police against protesters and ripped apart the Democratic Party?
Geoffrey Ward, scriptwriter for Ken Burns' The Vietnam War. Photo: Diane Raines Ward

The Extraordinary Life of Ken Burns' Scriptwriter

Geoffrey C. Ward has written scripts for Ken Burns for the past thirty years, and his incredible life uniquely fits him for the job. He survived polio, hunted tigers in India as a teenager, and has an ancestor who bankrupted Ulysses S. Grant. 
173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper after an early morning firefight. July 14, 1966. Photo: AP/John Nance

Understanding Vietnam: A Conversation with the Director of 'The Vietnam War'

Lynn Novick, co-director with Ken Burns of the ten-part, eighteen hour documentary series The Vietnam War, which premieres in September, discusses the potential lessons of the war and one of the most affecting moments of her filming career.
Richard Nixon making his resignation speech on August 8.

Looking Back at Nixon's Resignation

43 years ago today, Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the Presidency on national television. The next day, August 9, he resigned. At 10:00 pm on August 8, you can revisit the events leading to Nixon's downfall in Dick Cavett's Watergate, which compiles some of Cavett's interviews and analysis of the Watergate investigation. 

The unveiling of the Chicago Picasso. Photo: Courtesy DCASE

A "Colossal Booboo": The Incredible Story of the Chicago Picasso

One of Chicago's most iconic emblems came out of an unlikely alliance between a gruff, conservative mayor and a sensuous, progressive artist. Through the mediation of a charming bon vivant architect, they changed the face of public art in America. 
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