Film and Media

PBS Celebrates Black History Month with Three New Programs

AHA Staff | Feb 1, 1990

Eyes on the Prize II documents the journey of black Americans seeking justice, power, and identity, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s and shows the profound effect this movement had on all Americans.

The series premieres on Monday, January 15, 1990 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), with eight new, hour-long programs that will run through March 5, 1990.

The Eyes on the Prize series combines historical footage and contemporary interviews to examine the triumphs and failures of individuals and communities eager to endorse the movement's hard-won gains. The series also probes the transition to a more challenging time in this country's social history.

The civil rights movement changed America forever, rewriting its laws, reinvigorating its Constitution, inscribing a new legion of heroes and heroines in its history books. As the nature of that movement changes from a broad-based coalition to sometimes competing groups, a variety of local grassroots crusades took the movement's forward momentum and pressed on.

May, like Emma Darnell, an official in Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson's administration, never forgot those who came before. "We were, for all practical purposes, engaged in a revolution.... It was still the civil rights revolution. Those persons during the 1960s laid down their lives and died to put us into these positions of power," she says.

The series takes viewers from the streets of Malcolm X's Harlem to Oakland and the birth of the Black Panthers; from the frustration of rioters in Detroit and Miami to the victory celebration for Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor; from the ringside with Muhammad Ali to the "Mountain Top" speech of Martin Luther King on the eve of his assassination. The series was produced by Blackside, Inc. and presented by WGBH Boston.

Eyes on the Prize II is available to colleges, libraries, and institutions. For information about purchasing cassettes, please call PBS Video at 1-800/344-3337.

"All Day and All Night: Memories from Beale Street Musicians," will air on Friday, February 23, 1990 at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings). This thirty-minute film captures the lifestyles of musicians who performed on Memphis's Beale Street from the 1920s through the 1950s, a time and place described as "living in paradise."

The program is a personal examination at this "neighborhood" where the "lights never went out" and the music lasted "all day and all night." The story is told through anecdotes and reminiscences of the musicians who lived there and is written to reveal the camaraderie, the love, and the respect blues musicians had and still have for each other. Performers include B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Evelyn Young, Fred Ford, Honeymoon Garner, and many others. The program was produced by the Center for Southern Folklore and presented by WKNO in Memphis.

"No Father, No Mother, No Uncle Sam" is an hour-long program that documents the lives of the children born of black U.S. servicemen and white British women during World War II.

One hundred thousand black American soldiers were shipped to Britain when the United States entered the war and entered into romances with British women. Thousands of "wartime" babies were born of this union and the program examines the children's experiences and those of their mothers. Now in their forties, these "wartime" babies speak frankly of their early years, British social reaction to them, and their feelings about their parents.

The program was produced by HTV Great Britain. Additional information can be obtained by calling Liisa Franzen, PBS Program Information, 1320 Braddock Pl., Alexandria, VA 22314-1698 or call 703/739-5077.


Tags: Equity & Diversity - TO DISCUSS Scholarly Communication


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