Japan Opens to the West I

Lead: On July 14, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry landed at Kirihama new Edo Wan, now known as Tokyo Bay. The Tokugawa Shogunate had taken the fateful step of opening Japan to the West.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In its long history one of the major themes of Japanese life has been the interaction between native and foreign influence. In Japan's early history, the dominance of Chinese language, culture, religion and government was undeniable, but as the centuries passed Japan adapted, modified or discarded many aspects of Chinese civilization. However, it retained a lingering suspicion of foreigners. By 1200 Japan's emperor was a highly revered, near-religious figure, with little practical power. That was held by shogun, the emperor's supreme military commander. He received his title from the emperor, but in reality, for the most part, the shogun controlled the monarch. One of the primary goals of the shogunate was to suppress regional warfare and achieve political stability. Foreign influence was seen by many Japanese as a threat to the stability of the nation.

Mt. Pelee Erupts II

Lead: During its deadly destruction of the Martinique port city of St. Pierre, Mt. Pelée threw up an unusual form of volcanic eruption, the nuée ardente, or glowing cloud.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Volcanoes come in different forms. Their shape is determined by a variety of factors: the amount, sequence, and contents of what comes out during an eruption and the nature of the vent and land through which it pushes its volcanic product called magma. The perfectly shaped volcanoes such as Mt. Fuji in Japan are called stratovolcanoes because in most cases, over a long period of time, they generate moderate eruptions of ash and lava which are then deposited in layers or strata. Mt. Pelée, a stratavolcano, towers 4500 feet above the northern end of the Caribbean Island of Martinique.

Mt. Pelee Erupts I

Lead: On the morning of May 8, 1902, a massive cloud of volcanic matter rolled out of the conical summit of Mt. Pelée and plunged toward the coastal city of St. Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique. Within minutes the 30,000 citizens of St. Pierre had been incinerated.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Visited by Columbus on his fourth voyage in 1502, Martinique was first settled by Europeans when the French established a colony there in 1635. Except for a few years during wartime, they retained control and French Martinique remains in the twenty-first century. The island was formed by volcanoes, the principal of which was Mt. Pelée, a stratovolcano towering 4500 feet above the northern end of the Island. Until 1902 the chief commercial center of Martinique was the port of St. Pierre three miles distant from Mt. Pelée.

1968: Biafran Terror Famine II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

 Content: By the middle of 1968, the Nigerian civil war had created a true international humanitarian crisis. The oil-rich eastern region of Biafra was surrounded by government troops, cut off and starving. “Kwashiorkor,” an Igbo tribal word for protein deficiency, had reduced the Biafrans to eating rats, lizards, dogs and ants for protein. That year, between 1,500 and 40,000 Biafrans starved to death each week. When food was available it was astronomically expensive. Still, the Nigerian government would not relent and the rest of the world looked the other way during most of 1968.

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1968: Biafran Terror Famine I

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: Almost from the time of Nigerian independence in 1960, Biafra, an oil rich region in the eastern part of that West African nation, began agitating for its own independence. By 1968 the region was engulfed in a full-blown civil war. That was not the way it was supposed to be. In the years immediately following freedom from Great Britain, Nigeria seemed to be on the verge of accomplishing something rare on the African continent. It appeared to be shaping itself into an ethnically diverse democracy. Soon, however, this idyllic dream began to fall apart with conflicts arising between regions and the 250 ethnic groups in the country.

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Electric Chair

Lead: Caught up in the frenzy of competition in the early days of electric power, Thomas Edison gave impetus to development of the twentieth century’s most fearsome form of judicial execution, the electric chair.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1880s, inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist George Westinghouse were locked in a fierce competition over the future of electric power. The issue was transmission. Edison championed direct current, Westinghouse, in alliance with the brilliant and erratic Nikola Tesla, was an advocate of alternating current. Westinghouse eventually prevailed because AC, with its more efficient distribution over longer distances, was clearly the superior choice.

Coretta Scott King II

Lead: In the years before and after the assassination of her husband, Coretta Scott King provided strong leadership within the civil rights movement.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was not easy residing at the center of the maelstrom, raising a large family, taking a supportive role at the side of one of humanity’s most consequential figures, but, nevertheless, Coretta King rose to take the role of leader. She escaped and stood strong when white supremacists directed violence against their family. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, she was by his side.

Coretta Scott King I

Lead: In the pantheon of the civil rights movement Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife, Coretta Scott King, shine most brightly.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the issue of African-American Civil rights forced itself onto the American national agenda, it is not surprising that the prosperous, educated, black upper-class should feel most acutely the second-class status which America’s white majority enforced so vigorously to keep them in their place.