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Eyes on the Prize

PREMIERING APRIL 4TH - SUNDAYS 9/8c

EYES ON THE PRIZE tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today.

It is the story of the people who, compelled by a meeting of conscience and circumstance, worked to eradicate a world where whites and blacks could not go to the same school, ride the same bus, vote in the same election, or participate equally in society. It was a world in which peaceful demonstrators were met with resistance and brutality.

Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, the series, which recounts the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation, traces the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act; from early acts of individual courage through the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions. Narrated by political leader and civil rights activist Julian Bond (1940-2015).

Follow our Eyes on the Prize Viewing Guide to get to know the series through an episode-by-episode timeline. 

The first six episodes of EYES ON THE PRIZE are now available for on-demand streaming on PBS Passport. For a limited time, starting April 10, select films will be available for free streaming online here and on the PBS app.

Episodes

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About Season 2

EYES ON THE PRIZE is the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Season 2 (1964-mid '80s).

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    The Time Has Come (1964-1966)

    After a decade-long cry for justice, a new sound is heard in the Civil Rights Movement: the call for power. Malcolm X takes an eloquent nationalism to urban streets as a younger generation of Black leaders listens. In the South, Stokely Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee move from "Freedom Now!" to "Black Power!" as the fabric of the traditional movement changes.

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    Two Societies (1965-1968)

    Martin Luther King, Jr. and the SCLC come north to help Chicago's civil rights leaders in their nonviolent struggle against segregated housing. In Detroit, a police raid in a Black neighborhood sparks an uprising, leaving 43 people dead. The Kerner Commission finds that America is becoming "two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal" - President Lyndon Johnson ignores the report.

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    Power! (1966-1968)

    The call for Black Power takes various forms across communities in Black America. In Cleveland, Carl Stokes wins as the first Black mayor of a major American city. The Black Panther Party, armed with books, programs, and guns, is born in Oakland. Substandard teaching practices prompt parents to gain control of a school district but lead them to a showdown with New York City's teachers' union.

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    The Promised Land (1967-1968)

    Martin Luther King, Jr. stakes out new ground for himself and the fragmenting Civil Rights Movement. King opposes the war in Vietnam. His SCLC embarks on the Poor People's Campaign. In the midst of organizing, King detours to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis, where he is assassinated. His death and the failure of his final campaign mark the end of a major stream of the movement.

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    Ain't Gonna Shuffle No More (1964-1972)

    A renewed push for unity galvanizes Black America. Cassius Clay challenges America to accept him as Muhammad Ali. Howard University students fight to bring the Black consciousness movement and African heritage inside the Black institution. Black officials and activists organize the National Black Political Convention in an attempt to create a unified Black response to growing repression.

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    A Nation of Law? (1968-1971)

    Black activism is increasingly met with a violent and unethical response from law enforcement agencies. In Chicago, two Black Panther Party leaders are killed by police acting on information supplied by an FBI informant. In the wake of Nixon's call to "law and order," arrests push the poor conditions at Attica to the limit; an inmate takeover calling attention to the conditions leaves 43 dead.

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    The Keys to the Kingdom (1974-1980)

    In the 1970s, anti-discrimination legal rights gained in past decades by the Civil Rights Movement are put to the test. In Boston, some whites violently resist a federal court school desegregation order. Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, proves that affirmative action can work, but the Bakke Supreme Court case challenges that policy.

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    Back to the Movement (1979-mid '80s)

    Power and powerlessness. Miami's black community -- pummeled by urban renewal, a lack of jobs, and police harassment -- explodes in rioting. But in Chicago, an unprecedented grassroots movement triumphs. Frustrated by decades of unfulfilled promises made by the city's Democratic political machine, reformers install Harold Washington as Chicago's first Black mayor.

About Season 1

EYES ON THE PRIZE is the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Season 1 (1954-1965).

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    Awakenings (1954-1956)

    Individual acts of courage inspire Black Southerners to fight for their rights: Mose Wright testifies against the white men who murdered young Emmett Till, and Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.

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    Fighting Back (1957–1962)

    States’ rights, loyalists, and federal authorities collide in the 1957 battle to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School, and again in James Meredith’s 1962 challenge to segregation at the University of Mississippi. Both times, a Southern governor squares off with a US president, violence erupts - and integration is carried out.

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    Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)

    Black college students take a leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement as lunch counter sit-ins spread across the South. Freedom Riders also try to desegregate interstate buses, but they are brutally attacked as they travel.

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    No Easy Walk (1961-1963)

    The Civil Rights Movement discovers the power of mass demonstrations as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges as its most visible leader. Some demonstrations succeed; others fail. But the triumphant March on Washington, D.C., under King’s leadership shows mounting national support for civil rights. President John F. Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act.

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    Mississippi - Is This America? (1963-1964)

    Mississippi’s grassroots Civil Rights Movement becomes an American concern when college students travel south to help register black voters and three of them are murdered. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenges the regular Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City.

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    Bridge to Freedom (1965)

    A decade of lessons is applied in the climactic and bloody march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. A major victory is won when the federal Voting Rights Bill passes, but civil rights leaders know they have new challenges ahead.

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