Cash Rescues Eyes on the Prize (Wired News)

02:00 AM Aug. 30, 2005 PT
With a new infusion of money, the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize is one step closer to educating a new generation of students.

The 14-part series, which chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in America, has been blocked from television rebroadcast and DVD release by a thicket of copyright restrictions on the hundreds of photos, music tracks and video clips used in its making.

But thanks to a $600,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and a philanthropist’s $250,000 donation, the process of re-licensing that material has begun.

“We’re up and running and we’re going to move forward with rights clearances and any production work we need to do to prepare the programs for public television broadcast and distribution in the education market,” said Sandy Forman, a lawyer for Blackside, the production company that created the Eyes series.

The series is considered the most important film account of the civil rights movement and is a staple in history classrooms around the country. The six-part Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years/Bridge to Freedom 1965 first aired on PBS in 1987. Eyes I, as it’s called, detailed the movement’s early years, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The eight-part Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads chronicled what came later, including the rise of the Black Panther Party and affirmative action. It was broadcast in 1990. (more..)