Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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West Side Story: Michael Farmer and the Murder that Shocked New York

More than fifty years ago, Puerto Rican and black gang members in New York City fatally stabbed Michael Farmer, a white teenager. Farmer’s killing highlighted the rising problem of gang violence, as well as the city’s changing racial demographics.

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Last Witness: The Kerner Commission

Former Senator Oklahoma Fred Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, a group appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the root causes of the violence and civil unrest that swept the nation in the late ’60s.

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Last Witness: The General Slocum

In 1904, a steamship on its way to a church picnic sank in the East River. More than 1,000 people, many of them women and children, died in the disaster.

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