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Eyes On The Prize

EYES ON THE PRIZE was reprised as part of PBS’ distinguished AMERICAN EXPERIENCE series, October 2, 9, and 16, 2006.  EYES ON THE PRIZE: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954 to 1965, comprised of six one-hour films, was first broadcast on public television in 1987. The events of this period made America a more democratic society, changed those who participated in the movement, gave rise to many other movements that transformed American culture, and influenced a new generation of American leadership. During this period of American history, more legislation was passed, more court decisions rendered, and more social change effected in the name of civil rights than ever before. EYES ON THE PRIZE presents behind-the-scenes insights into such major events as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the events of Selma.

Funders

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded a national outreach campaign managed by Blackside that is a collaborative effort of three outreach providers: Outreach Extensions, Facing History and Ourselves, and the National Black Programming Consortium. The Annie E. Casey Foundation supported additional grants to public television stations, administered by Outreach Extensions, and an Oral History Toolkit. Additional project support for the campaign was provided by San Diego Mesa College.

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Campaign Objectives

  • The campaign invites creative collaborations between public television stations and various local partners: museums and cultural institutions, houses of worship and faith-based organizations, civil and human rights organizations, historically black colleges and universities, schools, and youth organizations.
  • Stations of all sizes can showcase their local media assets and create innovative campaigns: oral history projects, on-air interstitials, museum exhibits, screenings/forums, town halls, projects for audiences of faith, youth projects, interactive Web site content, television or radio programming, community events, print materials, and bus tributes. Projects will demonstrate how to localize a national series to engage key constituencies.
  • Projects can forge community connections through a focus on contemporary or historic civil or human rights – inclusive of all races and ethnicities. The series’ historical revelations enrich current conversations on race and class.

Diverse campaign resources will deepen the outreach work of public television stations in collaboration with their local partners. Stations are encouraged to develop their own campaign media assets to enhance local participation.

  1. “Awakenings” – The first episode in the series, “Awakenings” focuses on the period from 1954 to 1956, highlighting the events that began the modern black freedom struggle. The murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till in 1955 led to a trial that caught the attention of the national news media. The 1955-1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott was motivated by the arrest of Rosa Parks, who refused to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white person. This episode is available for local screenings/ discussions and engaging outreach audiences in solution-based actions. Note: Stations will sign a licensing form regarding their outreach use of “Awakenings.”
  2. Oral History Project Toolkit – Youth and adults are encouraged to present additional voices and commentary of those who took part in, observed, or were influenced by the Civil Rights Movement – or other human rights or civil liberties efforts. The Toolkit (on the outreach campaign CD) provides step by step procedures, interview tips, and sample questions. A “how-to” workshop agenda assists facilitators in guiding youth to conduct, record, and report on an oral history interview. Ideas are provided for stations to create a local Web-based project to capture and showcase collected interviews/stories as well as to display them in community settings.
  3. School Based Curriculum – Facing History and Ourselves is developing free school-based curriculum materials, including a comprehensive study guide and lesson plans, based on the series. Regional centers are located in New England, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area. See more information on Facing History and its work on EYES ON THE PRIZE in item G. School Curriculum under Menu of Outreach Ideas (see below). Visit Hwww.facinghistory.org/eyesontheprizeH.
  4. Grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – As part of the national outreach for the EYES ON THE PRIZE series rebroadcast, the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) is conducting a campaign geared specifically toward the 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. This initiative is a Web-based, multimedia project that encourages the use of interactive technology. College professors will be encouraged to apply for $5,000 grants to create original media-based works with their students that address contemporary issues of civil rights, American history, and local and national leadership. By using new media and technology as a tool for civic engagement, students will create Web sites, blogs, short movies, and podcasts as well as develop thought-provoking new digital work. HBCUs that receive grants from NBPC will be encouraged to partner with local public television stations to showcase their work. Visit Hwww.nbpc.tvH.
  5. Web sites – (1) AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is hosting the series Web site (Hwww.pbs.org/americanexperienceH) and recommends that stations visit the Press Room to download the promotional materials on the series. (2) The National Black Programming Consortium (Hwww.nbpc.tvH) will showcase media-based works submitted by historically black colleges and universities as part of its grant program.
  6. Technical Assistance – Outreach Extensions is available for one-on-one communications via telephone and e-mail. Technical assistance will help stations and their partners to plan and implement their outreach plans as well as effectively address issues in the series.

Station Grants Program

(19 funded by CPB; six grants funded by AECF)

The EYES ON THE PRIZE campaign offered grants to 19 public television stations to increase awareness about the series and engage local audiences. Six additional grants were available to Making Connections sites, which may apply on their own or in collaboration with the local station.

GRANTEES:

  • Alabama Public Television
  • Cincinnati Educational Television
  • Detroit Public Television
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Iowa Public Television
  • Kentucky Educational Television
  • KETC, St. Louis
  • KWBU, Waco, TX
  • Maryland Public Television
  • UNC Center for Public Television
  • WDCQ, University City, MI
  • WDSE-TV, Duluth, MN
  • WETA, Washington, DC
  • WFYI, Indianapolis
  • WGTE, Toledo, OH
  • WIPB, Muncie, IN
  • WKNO, Memphis, TN
  • WSIU Public Broadcasting, Carbondale, IL
  • WTVI, Charlotte
  • Howard University Television, Washington, DC
  • Making Connections San Antonio in partnership with Alamo Public Telecommunications Council (dba KLRN)
  • Making Connections Providence
  • Making Connections Oakland in partnership with KQED, San Francisco/Oakland
  • Making Connections Milwaukee
  • Making Connections Indianapolis in partnership with WFYI
  • Making Connections Des Moines
  • Making Connections Seattle, Youth Media Institute, and White Center Community Development Association
  • Making Connections Louisville
  • KQED School Services, San Francisco
  • WTCI, Chattanooga
  • Mississippi Educational Television
  • Faith Community Service, Inc., Griffin, GA
  • DuSable Museum of African-American History

Outreach Extensions developed a Station Readiness Primer to support campaign participation. In addition, an invitation and grants application package was sent to Making Connections sites.

Opportunities include:

  • The campaign supports local engagement in creative collaborations – museums and cultural institutions, houses of worship and faith-based organizations, civil and human rights organizations, and historically black colleges and universities.
  • Projects can forge community connections through a focus on contemporary or historic civil or human rights – inclusive of all races and ethnicities. The series’ historical revelations enrich current conversations on race and class.
  • Stations of all sizes can showcase their local media assets and create innovative campaigns: oral history projects, on-air interstitials, museum exhibits, screenings/forums, town halls, projects for audiences of faith, youth projects, interactive Web site content, television or radio programming, community events, print materials, and bus tributes. Projects will demonstrate how to localize a national series to engage key constituencies.
  • Bridge building: Campaign themes, issues, and audiences can be leveraged to tie into ongoing station or community initiatives related to race and diversity, youth, or faith. Campaign activities can also tie into special community activities such as oral history projects, explorations of culture, or civil rights commemorations.

The EYES ON THE PRIZE National Outreach Campaign has built relationships with a strong set of strategic outreach partners. These partners support the campaign’s focus on engaging youth and adult audiences in activities related to America’s Civil Rights Movement or other human and civil rights issues. The Station Readiness Primer suggests activities and provides contact information to facilitate local partnerships with stations and Making Connections sites.

Strategic partners include the following organizations:

Established as the single representative and principal voice of the African American museum movement, the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) is committed to the preservation of African-derived cultures. A nonprofit member organization, AAAM includes cultural organizations, historical societies, and museums as well as educational institutions, research agencies, and cultural centers.

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC has six ecumenical commissions: Communications, Education & Leadership, Faith & Order, Interfaith Relations, and Justice & Advocacy. Through these commissions, the NCC works for peace and justice in the United States, addressing issues ranging from poverty and racism, to the environment, and family and youth ministries.

Based in Atlanta, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has approximately 57 chapters in 16 states and 17 affiliates across the U.S. This historic organization was co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was its first president. Basic decisions made by the founders included the adoption of nonviolent mass action as the cornerstone of strategy. Today, its vision encompasses civil and human rights – transcending racial, economic, and class lines.

Outreach Extensions engaged the partners in individual strategy conversations to cultivate their interest in the campaign and identify ways they and their local members or affiliates could participate.