EYES ON THE PRIZE
Now available to stream on demand
The first six episodes of EYES ON THE PRIZE are now available for streaming on demand with KPBS Passport. For a limited time, starting April 10, select films will be available for free streaming online and on the PBS Video App or at WORLDChannel.org.
EYES ON THE PRIZE, created by Executive Producer Henry Hampton, is an award-winning and critically-acclaimed in-depth documentary series on civil rights in America. Hampton set out to share his vision of what he called “the remarkable human drama that was the Civil Rights Movement” through the experiences and challenges of those fighting for justice.
EYES ON THE PRIZE tells the definitive story of the Civil Rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today.
With contemporary interviews and historical footage, the Academy Award-nominated documentary traces the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act; from early acts of individual courage through the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions. The late Julian Bond, political leader and civil rights activist, narrates.
Season 1 (1954-1965)
"Awakenings (1954-1956)" - 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.
"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 US president, violence erupts - and integration is carried out.
"Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)" - Black college students take a leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement as lunch counter sit-ins spread across the South. Freedom Riders also try to desegregate interstate buses, but they are brutally attacked as they travel.
"No Easy Walk (1961-1963)" - The Civil Rights Movement discovers the power of mass demonstrations as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges as its most visible leader. Some demonstrations succeed; others fail. But the triumphant March on Washington, D.C., under King’s leadership shows mounting national support for civil rights. President John F. Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act.
"Mississippi - Is This America? (1963-1964)" - Mississippi’s grassroots Civil Rights Movement becomes an American concern when college students travel south to help register black voters and three of them are murdered. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenges the regular Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City.
"Bridge to Freedom (1965)" - A decade of lessons is applied in the climactic and bloody march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. A major victory is won when the federal Voting Rights Bill passes, but civil rights leaders know they have new challenges ahead.
The series won numerous awards including the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton Award, Peabody Awards in 1988 and 1991, and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
'Freedom Song' Exhibition
In conjunction with the program’s return to broadcast, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting will release a new online exhibit, "Freedom Song: Interviews from Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965," that explores the history behind and making of the groundbreaking civil rights series EYES ON THE PRIZE. Using unedited interviews recorded for the series, as well as an interactive map of locations central to the civil rights movement and a timeline of critical events, the "Freedom Song" exhibit breathes new life and context into the epic series. The exhibit was curated by Michelle Kelley, a cinema studies scholar who worked with students on the Eyes on the Prize interviews as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.
Produced by Blackside Inc. Executive Producer: Henry Hampton.
This special presentation is made possible with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS viewers.