The Riot Report | American Experience | Watch & Wonder Weekly Highlight

Tuesday, May 28, 1 PM

For next week’s Watch & Wonder Highlight, we’re featuring this episode of American Experience. After watching, dive deeper with resources about the historical context and connections between race, poverty and policing in America from the 1960s through today on PBS LearningMedia.

When Black neighborhoods in scores of cities erupted in violence during the summer of 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders––informally known as the Kerner Commission––to answer three questions: What happened? Why did it happen? And what could be done to prevent it from happening again? The bi-partisan commission’s final report, issued in March of 1968, would offer a shockingly unvarnished assessment of American race relations––a verdict so politically explosive that Johnson not only refused to acknowledge it publicly, but even to thank the commissioners for their service. The Riot Report explores this pivotal moment in the nation’s history and the fraught social dynamics that simultaneously spurred the commission’s investigation and doomed its findings to political oblivion.

PBS LearningMedia

Protests For Racial Justice: A Long History | Retro Report

Grades 9-12
This five-minute video introduces students to the findings of the Kerner commission, a panel of experts President Lyndon Johnson convened to make policy recommendations following the protests, violence and disorder that occurred in over 150 cities in 1967. The commission recommended a series of sweeping changes, including reforms in policing tactics and efforts to reduce urban poverty. But Johnson largely ignored the findings of the study. Useful in helping students make connections between the 1960s and today, the video sets up an engaging class discussion on race, poverty and policing.

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Each week, we’ll highlight a show from our Watch & Wonder block, and share a PBS LearningMedia resource — suitable for middle and high school students. Follow along on the Watch & Wonder Schedule page, or subscribe to our newsletter!