The Pilgrims, a new NEH-funded film by Ric Burns will premiere on American Experience on Tuesday, November 27 at 8 PM EST, and air again on Thanksgiving Day at 9:30 PM EST.
Produced by WETA Washington, DC, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities this two-hour documentary endeavors to tell the true story of the Pilgrims, a small group of religious radicals whose determination to establish a separatist religious community planted the seeds for America’s founding.
Arguably one of the most fateful and resonant events of the last half millennium, the Pilgrims’ journey west across the Atlantic in the early 17th century is a seminal, if often misunderstood episode of American and world history. The Pilgrims will explore the forces, circumstances, personalities and events that converged to exile the English group in Holland and eventually propel their crossing to the New World; a story universally familiar in broad outline, but almost entirely unfamiliar to a general audience in its rich and compelling historical actuality.
“From childhood on Americans are taught to think of the voyage of the Mayflower and the coming of the Pilgrims as the true founding moment of America,” said Burns, “and we honor them as such every year on Thanksgiving – even though they came thirteen years after the founding of Jamestown in 1607. The real story of the Pilgrims -- who they were, what drove them on, what happened to them in the new world, how they succeeded and how they failed and why we remember them as we do – is far more gripping, poignant, harrowing and strange – and far more revealing – than the Thanksgiving myth we think we know.”