Episode: Utah: The Struggle for Statehood

Original Airdate: 
January 1996

For the early pioneers who dared to envision and create their Zion, there were thousands of opportunities for dreams to die, and thousands of reasons for them to give up hope. Yet the determined men and women who went before us found the faith and motivation to persevere in the face of adversity, to pursue the dream and become the nation's forty-fifth star. One hundred years later, the legacy of this dream continues to define Utah. The spirit of the pioneers' endurance, progression, and hope is the Utah experience of both yesterday and today. Celebrating the centennial anniversary of Utah's statehood, KUED-Channel 7 presents an unprecedented documentary series, Utah: The Struggle for Statehood. Utah: The Struggle for Statehood chronicles the state's arduous fifty-year path to statehood -- from determined pioneers seeking a haven to backroom lobbying in the halls of Congress, to Utah's victorious admittance to the Union.

The four-part, five-hour series was created by KUED's Ken Verdoia and Nancy Green. It was written and directed by Ken Verdoia. Three years in the making and filmed on location in four states, Utah: The Struggle for Statehood captures the Utah experience through archival photographs, original footage and historical re-creation, interviews with historians and writers, and moving written records of early Utah settlers brought to life through more than 200 speaking roles. The program is narrated by Verdoia and features the music of the Deseret String Band, pianist Bob Waldis and local singers, as well as a powerful theme created by Utah composer Tulley Cathey. Verdoia says the series' central message of pursuing dreams is one of relevance to all Utahns. The unwavering dream of the early Utahns is a lesson for all of us -- whether we lose a job, whether our child isn't doing well in school, whether we face some adversity we never could have envisioned in our lives, or whatever the challenge might be.

If you are a teacher in Utah, you can download this entire program (broken into usable segments) from Pioneer Library and Utah Education Network's eMedia Service. (Search for 'Struggle for Statehood.')

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