Sunday, February 3, 2008

Eyes On The Prize

for some bizarre reason this incredible documentary is hard to get and only available on VHS God bless this youtube user who has uploaded many of the segments. The above is the first segment of Part 1, entitled Awakenings. A description of the series from Amazon.

One of the essential documentary series from 20th-century television, Eyes on the Prize is an extraordinary, grassroots history of the civil rights movement in 1950s and '60s America. Leaving punditry and debate to others, this six-hour program concerns itself with the individuals who were there, who participated on the front lines, who witnessed and survived to tell about the crusade's tragedies and victories. Starting with a pair of mid-'50s heroic actions in the South that helped galvanize black and white activism against institutional racism (actions that included Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama), the series winds its way through the exponential growth of the movement to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and beyond. The epochal battle between states-rights advocates and federal authorities is well-covered, as are the many sacrifices made and enormous risks taken by Mississippi Freedom Riders and advocates of black voter registration. Also in this boxed set is the series' sequel, Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965-mid 1980s. An equally stirring, eight-hour history of the post-civil-rights years, in which hard-won political power manifested itself both inside and outside elected government offices, this follow-up traces the fracturing of a unified civil rights community into numerous missions and agendas. Driven by interviews and archival footage, the series takes a clear look at such historical chapters as the rise of black separatism, the election of Carl Stokes to Cleveland's Office of the Mayor, and the turmoil of school desegregation. Both the original series and sequel are an absolute must for a contemporary understanding of racism in America. --Tom Keogh

a study guide for the series is available from


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