|Eyes on the Prize|
|Also known as||Eyes on the Prize I|
Eyes on the Prize II
|Directed by||Orlando Bagwell|
Sheila Curran Bernard
James A. DeVinney
Madison D. Lacy
Samuel D. Pollard
Terry Kay Rockefeller
|Narrated by||Julian Bond|
|Opening theme||"Keep Your Eyes on the Prize"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Production location(s)||United States|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||January 21, 1987 -|
March 5, 1990
Eyes on the Prize is an American television series and 14-part documentary about the civil rights movement in the United States. The documentary originally aired on the PBS network and it also aired in the United Kingdom on BBC2. Created and executive produced by Henry Hampton at the film production company Blackside and narrated by Julian Bond, the series uses archival footage, stills and interviews by participants and opponents of the movement. The title of the series is derived from the title of the folk song "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize", which is used as the opening theme music in each episode.
A total of 14 episodes of Eyes on the Prize were produced in two separate parts. The first part, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965, chronicles the time period between the United States Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. It consists of six episodes, which premiered on January 21, 1987, and concluded on February 25, 1987. The second part, Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965-1985, chronicles the time period between the national emergence of Malcolm X during 1964 to the 1983 election of Harold Washington as the first African-American mayor of Chicago. It consists of eight episodes, which aired on January 15, 1990 and ended on March 5, 1990, and was made widely available to educators on VHS tape. All 14 hours were re-released on DVD in 2006 by PBS.
The film originated as two sequential projects. Part one, six hours long, was shown on PBS in early 1987 as Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965. Eight more hours were broadcast in 1990 as Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965-1985.
In 1992, the documentary was released on home video. By the mid-1990s, both rebroadcasts and home video distribution were halted for several years due to expiration of rights and licenses of copyrighted archive footage, photographs and music used in the series and increasingly higher rates imposed by the copyright holders. Grants from the Ford Foundation and Gilder Foundation enabled Blackside and the rights clearance team to renew rights in 2005. While the return of Eyes on the Prize to public television and the educational market involved the contributions of many dedicated people, four individuals in particular were responsible for the long and complicated undertaking of rights renewals and the re-release of the series: Sandra Forman, Legal Counsel and Project Director; Cynthia Meagher Kuhn, Archivist and Rights Coordinator; Rena Kosersky, Music Supervisor; and Judi Hampton, President of Blackside and sister of Henry Hampton. None of the archival material in the fourteen hour documentary was removed or altered in any way. PBS rebroadcast the first six hours on American Experience on three consecutive Mondays in October 2006, and rebroadcast the second eight hours in February 2008. After a gap of almost eight years, Eyes on the Prize was rebroadcast on World Channel on fourteen consecutive Sundays beginning on January 17, 2016.
PBS reissued an educational version of the series in the fall of 2006, making it available on DVD for the first time. It is now available to educational institutions and libraries from PBS on seven DVDs or seven VHS tapes. A consumer version of part one (1954-1965) was released in March 2010.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Awakenings (1954-1956)"||Judith Vecchione||Steve Fayer||January 21, 1987|
|Chronicles the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama.|
|2||2||"Fighting Back (1957-1962)"||Judith Vecchione||Steve Fayer||January 28, 1987|
|Chronicles the school desegregation effort at Central High School by the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas from 1957 to 1958 and the later school desegregation effort at the University of Mississippi by James Meredith during the Ole Miss riot of 1962.|
|3||3||"Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)"||Orlando Bagwell||Steve Fayer||February 4, 1987|
|Covers the Nashville sit-ins and boycotts that sought to end racial segregation at lunch counters in Tennessee and the Freedom Riders efforts to end segregation on interstate transportation and terminals throughout the southern United States.|
|4||4||"No Easy Walk (1961-1963)"||Callie Crossley & James A. DeVinney||Callie Crossley, James A. DeVinney, & Steve Fayer||February 11, 1987|
|Examines the failed attempt by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Albany, Georgia to end segregation and the subsequent lessons learned to win a major victory in Birmingham, Alabama during the Birmingham campaign. The film also covers the March on Washington, one of the largest political rallies for civil rights in the history of the United States.|
|5||5||"Mississippi: Is This America? (1962-1964)"||Orlando Bagwell||Steve Fayer||February 18, 1987|
|Chronicles the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963 and the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964 in Mississippi. The film also covers the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City during the United States presidential election of 1964.|
|6||6||"Bridge to Freedom (1965)"||Callie Crossley & James A. DeVinney||Callie Crossley, James A. DeVinney, & Steve Fayer||February 25, 1987|
|Examines the effort to restore voting rights in Selma, Alabama during the Selma to Montgomery marches.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"The Time Has Come (1964-66)"||James A. DeVinney & Madison D. Lacy||James A. DeVinney & Madison D. Lacy||January 15, 1990|
|Examines a lead member of the Nation of Islam - Malcolm X. The film also chronicles the political organizing work of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) in Alabama and the shooting of James Meredith during the March Against Fear.|
|8||2||"Two Societies (1965-68)"||Sheila Curran Bernard & Samuel D. Pollard||Sheila Curran Bernard, Steve Fayer, & Samuel D. Pollard||January 22, 1990|
|Follows Martin Luther King Jr. during the Chicago Freedom Movement in Illinois and the tumultuous Detroit Riot of 1967 in Michigan.|
|9||3||"Power! (1966-68)"||Louis J. Massiah & Terry Kay Rockefeller||Steve Fayer, Louis J. Massiah, & Terry Kay Rockefeller||January 29, 1990|
|Chronicles the election of Carl Stokes as the mayor of Cleveland and the first African American to become mayor of a major U.S. city. The film also covers the formation of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and community control of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district in Brooklyn during the New York City teachers' strike of 1968.|
|10||4||"The Promised Land (1967-68)"||Jacqueline Shearer & Paul Stekler||Steve Fayer, Jacqueline Shearer, & Paul Stekler||February 5, 1990|
|Chronicles the final years of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. It also covers the Poor People's Campaign and Resurrection City in Washington, D.C.|
|11||5||"Ain't Gonna Shuffle No More (1964-72)"||Sheila Curran Bernard & Samuel D. Pollard||Sheila Curran Bernard, Steve Fayer, & Samuel D. Pollard||February 15, 1990|
|Chronicles the emergence of boxer Muhammad Ali, the student movement at Howard University, and the gathering of the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana.|
|12||6||"A Nation of Law? (1968-71)"||Louis J. Massiah, Thomas Ott, & Terry Kay Rockefeller||Steve Fayer, Louis J. Massiah, Thomas Ott, & Terry Kay Rockefeller||February 19, 1990|
|Chronicles the leadership and murder of Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Chicago. The second part of the film covers the Attica Prison rebellion in Attica, New York.|
|13||7||"The Keys to the Kingdom (1974-80)"||Jacqueline Shearer & Paul Stekler||Steve Fayer, Jacqueline Shearer, & Paul Stekler||February 26, 1990|
|The documentary examines the Boston school desegregation crisis involving busing in Massachusetts. The second part of the film chronicles the election of Maynard Jackson as mayor of Atlanta and the first African American to become mayor of any major U.S. city in the southern United States. The last part of the film examines affirmative action and the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978).|
|14||8||"Back to the Movement (1979-mid 80s)"||James A. DeVinney & Madison D. Lacy||James A. DeVinney, Steve Fayer, & Madison D. Lacy||March 5, 1990|
|Covers the Miami riot of 1980 and the election of Harold Washington as the first African-American mayor of Chicago. The film finishes with an overview of the Civil Rights Movement and its effect upon the United States and the world.|
The book Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 was created as a companion volume to the series during post-production by the producers and publishing staff at Blackside, Inc. They were assisted by Juan Williams, a Washington Post journalist. First published by Viking Press in 1987, the book used a portion of the iconic photograph of the Selma to Montgomery march taken by Look magazine photographer James Karales on its cover.
The series has been hailed as more than just a historical document. Clayborne Carson, a Stanford University history professor and editor of the published papers of Martin Luther King Jr., said that "it is the principal film account of the most important American social justice movement of the 20th century". Because of its extensive use of primary sources and in-depth coverage of the material, it has been adopted as a key reference and record of the civil rights movement.