Leaders of the civil rights movement are seen in action via archival footage and, in many cases, through interviews. These men and women include some as well known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, but many others are seen and heard. Mose Wright, Rosa Parks, E. D. Nixon, Fannie Lou Hamer, Coretta Scott King, C. T. Vivian, John Lewis, Andrew Young Jr., James Forman, Stokely Carmichael, and Jesse Jackson are among them. Even this abbreviated list suggests the size of the movement, the diversity of its leaders, and the many facets of life in the United States that needed to be addressed. Again and again these leaders point to the absolutely essential involvement of large numbers of committed ordinary people who were willing to risk their lives for the rights and freedoms they sought.
Still photos, newspaper headlines, live-action news footage, and audio tapes gathered from many different archives are interwoven with contemporary interviews conducted specifically for Eyes on the Prize to give viewers a particularly instructive and important chronicle. Both African and European Americans are interviewed and the conflicts and confusion within the movement are included, but the perspective adopted by the makers of Eyes on the Prize is never in doubt. In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words, "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience." Eyes on the Prize is an extraordinarily rich resource for anyone wanting to learn about the civil rights movement and to understand the people who were involved in it. Among the printed materials available to provide additional information and insight into the civil rights movement and Eyes on the Prize are Juan Williams's Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965 and Elizabeth Amelia Hadley's "Eyes on the Prize: Reclaiming Black Images, Culture, and History."
Janice R. Welsch and J. Q. Adams
Welsch, Janice R. and J.Q. Adams. Multicultural Films: A Reference Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2005.