The American Experience Launches Riding the Rails Website

Posted on March 31, 1999

At the height of the Great Depression, 250,000 teenagers were living on the road in America. The country's economic collapse destroyed much in their young lives -- many of their fathers lost their jobs, some had been evicted from their homes, even their schools went bankrupt and closed their doors -- and tens of thousands of teenagers hopped freight trains in search of a better future.

The Riding the Rails website follows the little-known story of these teenage hobos -- why they left their homes, how they struggled to survive, and how the experience shaped their lives. Recently updated, the The site accompanies the re-broadcast of The American Experience's one-hour documentary on Monday, March 29 at 9pm on PBS. The site also contains an enhanced program transcript, extended transcripts of interviews used in the program, a teachers' guide and a bibliography.

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