History Detectives

Season 6, Episode 9 of 11

Shipwreck Cannons - Beachcombers on the Oregon Coast spotted what looked like large, rusty rocks sticking out of the sand. The state of Oregon, which has recovered the encrusted objects, believes they house priceless artifacts: cannons from the 1846 shipwreck of the USS Shark. The Shark and a few fast-sailing schooners like her were built in the 1820s to suppress slave traders and pirates. In 1846, the Shark was sent on what may have been her most challenging mission, to resolve the matter of the "Oregon question." In the Pacific Northwest, both the United States and Great Britain laid claim to large stretches of the Northwest Territories. The Shark's mission was to uncover intelligence on the British and their intentions, but the vessel met with disaster, sinking while attempting to cross the treacherous Columbia Bar. In Oregon and southwest Washington, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright tracks the 162-year-old naval tale with the help of lead investigative archaeologists from the U.S. Navy and the state of Oregon. Connecticut Farmhouse - A resident of rural East Haddam, Connecticut, owns an old house that he believes has a story to tell. Between 1891 and 1906, the farm changed hands six times, and the names of the residents appear to be mostly Eastern European. The late 1800s marked the beginning of a mass immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States. The majority of refugees came from Russia, after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 set off violent anti-Jewish riots across the country. By 1893, about a million immigrants had entered the U.S. through major East Coast ports, especially New York. But why did so many newcomers end up in this particular Connecticut home, and what accounted for the high turnover? In Connecticut and New York City, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray explores the efforts of Jewish-American relief societies to support the Jewish agricultural community as it struggled to take root in a new land. Kahlil Gibran Painting - A contributor from Overland Park, Kansas, has an unsigned oil portrait of his grandfather, Najib Musa Diab, which he believes was painted by the Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. His grandfather was a contemporary of Gibran, whose poetry was published by the Arabic-language newspaper that Diab founded in Brooklyn, New York. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi's investigation reveals the perplexing challenges Gibran and other Arab immigrants faced as they balanced their new American identities with loyalties to their native lands when World War I changed the Middle East map and policy. From this turmoil, Gibran found the unique blend of Eastern and Western philosophy that permeated his writing and art. Did this period in Gibran's life also produce Diab's portrait? HISTORY DETECTIVES heads to Savannah, Georgia, and New York City to find out.

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11 p.m.
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