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American Masters (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): Like Benjamin Franklin, R. Buckminster Fuller delved into many fields: architecture, engineering, philosophy, and poetry among them. This episode of the series that profiles important figures in American culture looks at Fuller - best known for creating the geodesic dome, an air-deliverable prefabricated home called the Dymaxion house, and a maximum-safety 12-passenger automobile, the Dymaxion car. His pioneering, global approach to technology and modern needs established him as one of the most original thinkers of the second half of this century.

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Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): Though Mexican-Americans make up one of the fastest-growing minorities in the United States, their history often goes unsung. This four-part series - the first two of which air tonight - sheds light on their quest for social justice from 1965 to 1975. Among the events profiled are a 1965 strike, under the nonviolent leadership of Cesar Chavez, against California grape growers for better working conditions and fair wages; the 1969 Denver Youth Conference, during which hundreds of young Mexican-Americans met to plan their national agenda; and the 1970 Anti-Vietnam Moratorium March in East Los Angeles, which turned into a riot and resulted in the murder of journalist Ruben Salazar.

The program is narrated by Henry Cisneros, US secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): Actress Kathy Bates directs this episode of the gritty police drama, which has been building its following this season. When Detectives Lewis (Clark Johnson) and Kellerman (Reed Diamond) investigate a murder in a housing project, they find themselves at odds with a civilian group that the city contracted to patrol the area. Problems are only compounded when the city shuts down the civilian group, leading to a rise in both the murder rate and racial tensions.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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