The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Eyes on the Prize - Awakenings (1954-1956) [Part 1 of 14] (1987)

  • Ralph Abernathy
  • Unita Blackwell
  • Julian Bond
"Eyes on the Prize" is an exceptional series--mostly because instead of the typical hour or half hour documentary, it's VERY thorough and very detailed---covering not just an event but the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1965--and a LOT happened during that time. This isn't surprising, as PBS has made tons of interesting and well-crafted documentaries over the years.

This first episode gives a very brief overview of the pervasiveness of lynchings and other mistreatment of Blacks in America. Then, most of the episode centers on two important events in the mid-1950s--the Emmett Till murder trial and the incident when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus--thus leading to the Montgomery bus boycott and the beginning of Martin Luther King's career as a civil rights leader. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that life for Blacks in America prior to the 50s is really not mentioned very much--and it seemed like they went through this a bit too quickly. Still, it was an otherwise excellent show--and well worth seeing.

Transcript of the documentary: