Arts and Culture / Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

PBS documentary premieres at DU

A screening of the new PBS “American Experience” documentary The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) will premiere on campus Oct. 14. The film, which highlights one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s most popular New Deal programs, will be shown in Sturm Hall’s Davis Auditorium at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

“The film looks at the response to the severe unemployment situation that resulted from the Great Depression and the government’s response that put people back to work,” says Pam Osborne, director of marketing for Rocky Mountain PBS. “We believe that examining this subject can inform and provide perspective to today’s deep recession.”

DU History Professor Susan Schulten says Roosevelt’s administration introduced several programs that fundamentally altered the place of government in the economy.

“The CCC was among FDR’s most popular programs, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike,” Schulten says. “Yet, ironically, it was among the more groundbreaking elements of the New Deal: It paid the unemployed to work, it involved the government directly in conservation and public works on a significant scale, and it directly addressed the problem of young unemployed men.”

While they were unsuccessful in ending the Great Depression, the New Deal programs are central to modern politics.

“We still passionately argue over the federal government’s role in our lives — the stimulus bill and federal regulation are only the latest in an ongoing debate that began in the 1930s,” Schulten says. “This anniversary is an opportunity to discuss these critical ideas and to consider the relevance of the 1930s for our own lives.”

Schulten will host a panel discussion following the screening. The panel includes “American Experience” executive producer Mark Samels, Colorado state historian William Convery and Albert Coven, a veteran of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The program will air on Rocky Mountain PBS, Channel 6, at 8 p.m. Nov. 2. It is one documentary in a five-part “American Experience” series titled “The Thirties” that begins airing Oct. 26.

The documentary will be released just prior to the 80th anniversary of the Oct. 24, 1929, stock market crash. Although the initial crash occurred Oct. 24, widespread panic set in the following week, resulting in Tuesday, Oct. 29, becoming known as Black Tuesday.

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