Eyes on the Prize (1987, 1990, 2006)
I first watched this award-winning PBS documentary about the Civil Rights Movement back in the late 1980s, when I used it to teach a course on contemporary cultural issues. What made watching it especially poignant was that the college was in metro Detroit, and that African Americans comprised 35% of our student body — that is, people in our class had skin in the game. In its original 1987 format, Eyes on the Prize consisted of six one-hour episodes that covered the years from the 1952 murder of Emmit Till and the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education to 1965 and the marches from Selma to Montgomery. The series was narrated by Julian Bond, and incorporated archival footage and interviews by participants in the movement, along with the opponents. Then, in 1990, an additional eight episodes were released that covered from 1965 and the rise of Malcom X to 1985 and the election of Harold Washington as the first black mayor of Chicago. In 2006, PBS re-released all 14 hours in a DVD format. Clayborn Carson, professor of history at Stanford University and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, has called Eyes on the Prize "the principal film account of the most important American social justice movement of the 20th century." NOTE: Eyes on the Prize can be watched today on Amazon Prime Video.
Dan Clendenin: email@example.com