Monday, April 18, 2016

Eyes On The Prize: Civil Rights Movement (1954–1956)

American History



Eyes on the Prize: No. 1: Awakenings (1954–1956). This is the first episode of a multi-part PBS-TV production—part of its American Experience series—created and produced by Henry Hampton, an influential American documentary filmmaker. This television series was first broadcast in two parts, Wikipedia notes; the first part (six hours) in 1987 and the second (eight hours) in 1990.

The public broadcaster writes about this series:
Eyes on the Prize is an award-winning 14-hour television series produced by Blackside and narrated by Julian Bond. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, the series covers all of the major events of the civil rights movement from 1954-1985. Series topics range from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965; from community power in schools to “Black Power” in the streets; from early acts of individual courage through to the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions.
When Eyes on the Prize premiered in 1987, The Los Angeles Times called it "an exhaustive documentary that shouldn't be missed." The series went on to win six Emmys and numerous other awards, including an Academy Award nomination, the George Foster Peabody Award, and the top duPont-Columbia award for excellence in broadcast journalism.
Eyes on the Prize was created and executive produced by Henry Hampton (1940-1998), one of the most influential documentary filmmakers in the 20th century. His work chronicled America's great political and social movements and set new standards for broadcast quality. Blackside, the independent film and television company he founded in 1968, completed 60 major films and media projects that amplified the voices of the poor and disenfranchised. His enduring legacy continues to influence the field in the 21st century.
I highly recommend that you take the time to watch the entire series; it is an important and essential part of modern American history. All schoolchildren in America ought to watch this series. Episode No. 2 (“Fighting Back” (1957-62)) can be viewed here; and Episode No, 3 (“Ain’t Scared of Your Jails” (1960-61)) here. There is no guarantee that knowing history will make you a better person, but it will defeat the power of ignorance.