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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Eyes On The Prize: Awakenings/ Fighting Back

Airs Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted 13 months. The 43-year-old woman was arrested and jailed for violating the law banning integration.

"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.

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, one of nine black students whose admission to Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a federal court, is threatened by a white mob on the first day of class, September 6, 1957.
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Above: Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, one of nine black students whose admission to Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a federal court, is threatened by a white mob on the first day of class, September 6, 1957.

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.

Episode One: "Eyes on the Prize: Awakenings 1954-1956"

The first episode of this groundbreaking documentary series examines America's civil rights years. Individual acts of courage inspire black Southerners to fight for their rights: Mose Wright testifies against the white men who murdered young Emmett Till and Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.

Episode Two: "Eyes on the Prize: Fighting Back 1957-1962"

States’ rights loyalists and federal authorities collide in the 1957 battle to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School and again in James Meredith's 1962 challenge to segregation at the University of Mississippi. Both times, a southern governor squares off with a U.S. president, violence erupts — and integration is carried out.

Reflections on an Era:

Read personal essays and other comments from a variety of people connected with the Civil Rights Movement. Then share your own thoughts or comments.

Video

Promo: American Experience: Eyes On The Prize

Above: Actor and author Bill Cosby discusses the important lessons to be learned from the groundbreaking civil rights series "Eyes On The Prize" and encourages everyone to watch it when it returns to their local PBS station in April 2010.