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Want to meet some Minnesota trailblazers who light up our state's history?

January 19, 2024

With a New Year swiftly unfolding, Twin Cities PBS offers four new history documentaries that promise to take viewers on a journey to discover more about some of the trailblazers who have shaped Minnesota’s political, cultural and social fabric. Truly a master class in local history, TPT’s signature history brand, Minnesota Experience, chronicles a blend of well-known and more obscure history stories that satisfy the trivia seeker in all of us. Along with a catalogue of vibrant past films, these new documentaries will air on broadcast and be available for streaming on the PBS App.

Jesse Ventura Shocks the World – Now Streaming

A quarter century after Ventura’s stunning election victory, Jesse Ventura Shocks the World looks back at the origins, evolution, broader meaning, and surprising impact of one of the most famous, infamous, unpredictable, and enigmatic governors in American history. How did Jesse “the Body” Ventura transform himself from a pro-wrestler into Jesse “the Governor” of Minnesota? What does his journey say about civic engagement, challenging the system, and how American democracy works? How does Ventura’s softer side as a family man and his often middle-of-the-road politics belie his pugilistic public presence? The documentary paints a vivid picture of how Ventura’s unique blend of charisma, authenticity, and non-partisan appeal resonated with Minnesotans and left an indelible mark on the state’s history.

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Hope in the Struggle: The Josie Johnson Story – Now Streaming

An inspiring reflection on the life and work of groundbreaking Freedom Fighter, civic leader, and community activist Dr. Josie Johnson, Hope in the Struggle largely chronicles her story in her own words from archival interviews over the years. At the age of 93, Dr. Josie Johnson is one the of last Freedom Fighters still with us. With over 70 years of activism under her belt, the “First Lady of the Minnesota Civil Rights” has never been more relevant. Voting rights, fair housing, gender equity, access to quality education: These are many of the same issues still being fought for today. What does this mean for activists today? Where does she find hope, and what guidance does she have for the next generation of freedom fighters who will experience their own failures and missteps? Through the life and work of Josie Johnson, we look at the past, present, and future of the civil rights movement, locally and nationally; and the accomplishments, setbacks, and work yet to be done in the context of recent police violence and the worldwide activism it has spawned. The multigenerational impact of Josie Johnson will personalize a history that many may feel they already know, offering a window into the real, day-to-day work of a movement and of those who have the courage to take it on every day of their lives. 

The Electric Indian – Premieres March 26, 2024

The Electric Indian follows the hockey legend Henry Boucha from early stardom to crushing defeat to healing. It is not about winning or losing — on the ice or in the courtroom; it’s about the journey from sports stardom to struggle that ultimately led to a reclamation of his pride for his Ojibwa culture and people. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Leya Hale, the documentary takes us from the river hockey games of Boucha’s youth at the northern tip of Minnesota to his rise to the U.S. Olympic Team and the NHL. Later in life, Boucha reflects on his upbringing in Warroad, his Ojibwa roots and history, his rise and fall due to a brutal eye injury, and the eventual redemption he found in his culture and traditions. The film offers a soaring tribute to Boucha, who passed away in September 2023, and his lasting legacy.


Profe: La Lucha Sigue – Coming in April 2024

The Latine community is the fastest growing ethnic group in Minnesota – a state that also claims one of the largest opportunity gaps in the country. As districts and politicians struggle to solve equity issues, two charter schools are making change happen. Through a decolonized, bilingual, culturally affirming lens, these schools have adapted their curriculum and staffing to serve Latine students. But this fight has been decades in the making. PROFE combines historical interviews, archival and present day-verité to paint a picture of the Latine educational revolution in Minnesota – one which started with the Chicano Movement in the 1970s and is continuing to have real impact in Latine students today. 

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