For decades, the Rockefeller name was despised in America — associated with John D. Rockefeller Sr.’s feared monopoly, Standard Oil. The world’s first billionaire, Rockefeller held 90 percent of the world’s oil refineries, 90 percent of the marketing of oil and a third of all the oil wells. Working methodically and secretly, he transformed an industry — and changed forever the way America did business. Though Rockefeller’s only son dedicated his life to redeeming the family reputation, and Rockefeller had given away half his fortune by the end of his life, his philanthropy couldn’t erase the memory of his predatory business practices.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Titans: John D.Rockefeller,Tuesday at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.