Article- "The Fight Continues: The Civil Rights Movement from the '60s through the '80s". 'GBH. 1990 January





[photograph of black people demonstrating for civil rights] Eyes on the Prize II

The Fight Continues The civil rights movement from the '60s through the '80s

by Julian Bond In 1987, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 (Eyes I) documented in six compelling hours of television the glory years of the modern civil rights movement in America. Viewers followed the movement's development, met its leaders and shared in its triumphs.

This month marks the debut of Eyes on the Prize II. The second series chronicles a different and troubling period in American race relations - a period when blacks and whites, who had marched together, steadily drifted apart.

Under the skillful direction of executive producer Henry Hampton, both series use news tape and film to summon memories in older viewers and to set the scene for younger ones. Archival footage is combined with current interviews with movement leaders and participants.

Eyes I and II are television at its best - instructive without lecturing or hectoring, moving without romanticizing or embellishing.

Viewers pushed their chairs back from the first Eyes with some self-satisfaction - the southern civil rights movement had achieved its early goals. There were good guys and bad guys, and the good guys won. By 1965, Jim Crow was legally dead. Peaceful protestors had withstood the angry mobs, the billy clubs and fire hoses; and democracy had witnessed its finest hour.

The second Eyes is sure to prompt a different response. Southern sheriffs are replaced by northern mayors and peaceful demonstrators by Black Panthers. Nonviolence in Selma gives way to violence in Watts; racist mobs outraged at integrated buses in Alabama segue into racist mobs outraged at integrated busing in Boston. Former allies find themselves on opposite sides as the fight moves north of the Mason-Dixon line.

As the movement travels from southern cotton fields to northern ghettoes, and the sweet Freedom Songs meld into chants of Black Power, the viewer comes face-to-face with the complexities of the unfinished struggle for equal rights.

Some recurring characters demonstrate how little change occurs in the midst of racial revolution. Although hair, clothing and rhetorical styles shift sharply, many of the faces remain the same.

The new faces that appeared in the era on which Eyes II focuses were thought hostile, sullen, angry by whites; blacks felt a surge of pride.

Today's viewers will see how easily pluralism is defined as separatism when the proponents' skins are black; how pride becomes arrogance when

8 'GBH January 1990

Last edit 9 months ago by Jannyp
Needs Review


nonviolent petitioner becomes militant demander.

As much as anything else, [i]Eyes II[/i] records attitudinal changes - in black America's demands and in white America's response. Southern protestors asked for seats at an abundant table; blacks could gain, and no one had to lose. As the movement traveled north, many whites began to think blacks demanded the entire table.

For this writer, a participant in the civil rights movement of the first [i]Eyes[/i] and the political movement of the second, [i]Eyes II[/i] contains as many poignant memories and moments of rediscovery as [i]Eyes I[/i].

I sat three rows from the ring when Muhammad Ali defeated Jerry Quarry in Atlanta. As never before or since, I was absolutely engaged by the contest before me. Ali was more than a boxer to the generation that grew out of the civil rights movement; he was grace and wit and courageous politics.

There is a quick glimpse of the young Louis X seated on a Harlem bandstand as his mentor, Malcolm X, entrances a crowd. Louis X is better known as Louis Farrakahn today. In 1967, a young Carl Stokes claims victory as Cleveland's first African-American mayor; another black man will not hold that office until 1989. Stokely Carmichael reminds us that he and other "militants" had friendly relations with "moderate" Martin Luther King, Jr.

New York's battles over community control of schools featured players who appeared again in this year's polarized race for mayor. Allan Bakke challenged affirmative action in education; Bakke's victory did not end the argument, which rages on today.

The events of those years, recent as they are, are unfamiliar to many Americans. What had been a national story became a local story. Few Americans [Photograph of Julian Bond with quote reading; 'Just as nostalgia colored the first [i]Eyes[/i], sadness tinges the second. [i]Eyes I[/i] showed conflict resolved; [i]Eyes II[/i] introduces conflict that lingers on.' Julian Bond] got a close look at the struggle over schools in New York or knew the violence with which whites resisted school integration in Boston; fewer still knew of the black political convention in Gary, Indiana, in 1972, or the student strike at Howard University that same year.

[i]Eyes II[/i] weaves all of these pieces into one fabric - a fabric that is torn in many places by the division between races. If we are to end these tears, we must understand their origin and development. [i]Eyes II[/i] helps us on that road.

I can recall savoring the promise of the "firsts" that [i]Eyes II[/i] records: African-American mayors in Atlanta, Cleveland and Chicago whose elections, we thought, signaled an end to urban deterioration and decay. We did not know - or could not freely acknowledge - that racism was not vulnerable to referendum and that its partner, economic inequality, would be so stubborn and resistant to change.

Vanished innocence isn't the only difference between Hampton's portrayal of two eras. The men and women in [i]Eyes II[/i] clearly have less faith in democracy , in American fairness, than did those of [i]Eyes I[/i]. Just as nostalgia colored the first [i]Eyes[/i], sadness tinges the second. [i]Eyes I[/i] showed conflict resolved; [i]Eyes II[/i] introduces conflict that lingers on.

If [i]Eyes I[/i] prompted viewer satisfaction, [i]Eyes II[/i], one hopes, will prompt viewer reaction. Don't miss it.

[i] Julian Bond, former Georgia state legislator and recent visiting professor of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, narrates[/i] Eyes on the Prize II. [i]The series is produced by Blackside, Inc. and is presented by WGBH with major fundingby the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Melville Corporation, Lotus Development Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Lily Endowment, the William Penn Foundation and the Charles Revson Foundation.[/i]

Eyes on the Prize II, an eight-part series, premieres on Monday, January 15 at 9pm 2

Lessons for Democracy [i]"Eyes on the prize II[/i] is the story of the United States at a time when it was coming to grips with the realties of its democracy and its racial future," says Henry Hampton, executive producer of the series. "Our nation still has those choices to make," he continues, "and it needs a grasp of history to make them wisely." To that end:

[image of Malcolm X, taken by John Launois/Black Star] [bold] The Time Has Come (1964-1965)[endbold]. After a decade of progress, a sense of urgency and anger emerges from black communities of the North, best expressed by Malcolm X. Iterviews with Ossie Davis, Mike Wallace, Stokely Carmichael and Alex Haley, Monday, January 15.

[Image of Martin Luther King, UPI/Bettmann Newsphotos] [bold]Two Societies (1965-1968).[endbold] Martin Luther King applies southern movement tactics to the urban North. Riots spread through urban ghettos, while the Kerner Commission points to widespread racism. Interviews with Andrew Young and Ed Marciniak, former director of Chicago Commission on Human Rights. January 22.

[Image of Carl Stokes, UPI/Bettmann Newsphotos] [bold]Power! (1967-1968).[endbold] Riots give way to new actions, through ballots, on the streets, in the schools. Cleveland elects the first African-American mayor, the Black Panther Party is founded and Brooklyn's blacks and Hispanics struggle for improved schools. Interviews with Carl Stokes, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. January 29.

[Image of Gordon Parks?] [i]Of related interest[/i] [bold]Martin.[endbold] An original, five-movement ballet composed by Gordon Parks as his personal tribute to MArtin Luther King, Jr. With an introductory documentary. Monday, January 15 at 11pm (Martin Luther King Day).

[bold]The American Experience/Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad.[endbold] The story of the system of cooperation among abolitionists and ex-slaves that helped fugitive slaves reach the North and Canada. Tuesday, January 16 at 9pm.

'GBH January 1990 9

Last edit 9 months ago by amyhumphriesuk
Displaying all 2 pages