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In this monumental volume, Henry Hampton, creator and executive producer of the acclaimed PBS series Eyes on the Prize, and Steve Fayer, series writer, draw upon nearly one thousand interviews with civil rights activists, politicians, reporters, Justice Department officials, and hundreds of ordinary people who took part in the struggle, weaving a fascinating narrative of the civil rights movement told by the people who lived it.
Join brave and terrified youngsters walking through a jeering mob and up the steps of Central High School in Little Rock. Listen to the vivid voices of the ordinary people who manned the barricades, the laborers, the students, the housewives without whom there would have been no civil rights movements at all.
This remarkable oral history brings to life country's great struggle for civil rights as no conventional narrative can. You will hear the voices of those who defied the blackjacks, who went to jail, who witnessed and policed the movement; of those who stood for and against it—voices from the heart of America.
The only oral history of America's civil and human rights movement from 1954 to the present.
"Something much greater than the sum if its parts, a taut and vivid narrative on an epic scale--compelling--marvelously diverse.
— Los Angeles Times
"A vast choral pageant that recounts the momentous work of t he civil rights struggle."
— The New York Times Book Review
"Utterly fascinating. Voices of Freedom tells the greatest American story ever told. These voices are extraordinary. So is the book."
— Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides
"Through the words of the victims, the villains, and the victorious, who together changed the course of America's sadly racist history. Voices of Freedom gives us the opportunity to glimpse the shining spirits of our heroic people, black and white, female and male, often through chuckles and often through tears."
—Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
- Publisher's Weekly
As the authors graphically show, participating in civil rights marches, sit-ins and Freedom Rides took moral stamina and raw nerve. The heroines and heroes of the movement receive a stirring tribute in this oral history, a tie-in to the TV series Eyes on the Prize , which Hampton produced and Fayer wrote. The book is organized in 31 chapters around key events, with demonstrators offering complementary perspectives. We hear from ordinary people along with well-known activists Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stokely Carmichael; public officials John Conyers and Nicholas Katzenbach; Black Panthers Huey Newton and Bobby Seale; Alex Haley, Coretta Scott King, Ossie Davis, Tom Hayden, Michael Harrington, Harry Belafonte. Collectively the testimonies reveal how far America has progressed in the drive for equality and how far it still has to go. History Book Club and QPB selections; author tour. (Feb.)
The PBS series Eyes on the Prize, parent to a narrative history of the U.S. civil right movement (of the same name, LJ 1/87), now begets a second book, excerpts from the project's interview bank. The book's 32 episodes, starting with the 1955 Emmett Till lynching, include triumphs like Selma and Birmingham alongside the Detroit riots of 1967, Attica, the Black Panthers, and other legacies tragic or ambiguous. The cross-currents and complexities of history are well attended to--as Andrew Young and Stokely Carmichael, for example, argue the role of whites--in the voices of some who won fame, many who did not, and a few who opposed the movement. The selections are brief, cleanly edited with light annotation, and wider ranging than those of another fine oral history, Howell Raines's My Soul is Rested (LJ 9/1/77). Recommended for general readers. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/89.-- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chichester, N.H.
School Library Journal
YA-- This collection of remembrances and personal anecdotes is based on 1000 interviews and records 30 years of the struggle to achieve equality and gain civil rights for black people. Ordinary people who fought to attain their civil rights are recorded here, as well as the more well-known leaders on the civil rights front. From Selma, Little Rock, King's crusades, and the Boston school busing, to Miami, Atlanta, Cassius Clay, and Affirmative Action, both blacks and whites tell how they felt during these significant moments in history. This book, a companion to the PBS series Eyes on the Prize, is a ``must purchase'' for black history collections. --Gwen Salama, Hastings High School, Alief, I.S.D., TX
Henry Hampton, who died in 1998, was the creator and executive producer of Eyes on the Prize, one of more than 40 film projects he developed with his company Blackside, Inc., the largest African-American-owned film production company of its time. Hampton became one of the world's most respected documentary filmmakers as he chronicled the 20th century's great political and social movements, focusing on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised.
Steve Fayer was the series writer for Eyes on the Prize.
Table of Contents
Preface: Toward a More Perfect Union
1. Emmett Till, 1955: “I Wanted the Whole World to See”
2. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955-6: “Like a Revival Starting”
3. The Little Rock Crisis, 1957-58: “I Had Cracked the Wall”
4. Student Sit-ins in Nashville, 1960: “A Badge of Honor”
5. Freedom Rides, 1961: “Sticks and Bricks”
6. Albany, Georgia, 1961-2: “The Mother Lode”
7. James Meredity Enters Ole Miss, 1962: “Things Would Never Be the Same”
8. Birmingham, 1963: “Something Has Got to Change”
9. Organizing in Mississippi, 1961-3: “The Reality of What We Were Doing Hit Me”
10. The March on Washington, 1963: “They Voted with Their Feet”
11. The Sixteenth Street Church Bombing, 1963: “You Realized How Intense the Opposition Was”
12. Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964: “Representation and the Right to Participate” 13. Selma, 1965: “Troopers, Advance”
14. Malcolm X (1925-1965): “Our Own Black Shining Prince!”
15. The Lowndes County Freedom Organization, 1965-6: “Vote for the Panther, Then Go Home”
16. The Meredith March, 1966: “Hit Them Now”
17. Chicago, 1966: “Chicago Was a Symbol”
18. Muhammad Ali, 1964-7 “His Philosophy Made It Impossible Not to Take a Stand”
20. Birth of the Black Panthers, 1966-7: “We Wanted Control!”
21. Detroit, 1967: “Inside of Most Black People There Was a Time Bomb”
22. The Election of Carl Stokes, 1967: “We Had to Be Organized”
23. Howard University, 1967-8: “You Saw the Silhouette of Her Afro”
24. King’s Last Crusade, 1967-8: “We’ve Got Some Difficult Days Ahead”
25. Resurrection City, 1968: “The End of a Major Battle”
26. Ocean Hill-Brownsville, 1967-8: “Everything Became More Political”
27. The Black Panthers, 1968-9: “How Serious and Deadly the Game”
28. Attica and Prisoners’ Rights, 1971: “There’s Always Time to Die”
29. The Gary Convention, 1972: “Unity Without Uniformity”
30. Busing in Boston, 1974-6: “As if Some Alien Was Coming into the School”
31. Atlanta and Affirmative Action, 1973-80: “The Politics of Inclusion”
Epilogue: From Miami to America’s Future
For Further Reading
“Eyes on the Prize”
Project Staff and Funders