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October 01, 2006

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I forget. What was the prize?

It took another free speech vs. corporate copyright battle (a Downhill Battle, you might say) to make this showing possible.

From the Washington Post link of January 2005:

The film is hampered by the same problem many documentary filmmakers are encountering as they wrestle with buying and renewing licenses to use copyrighted archival footage, photos and music. Independent filmmakers must pay for each piece of copyrighted material, and those costs have escalated in the past 10 years.

Some of the footage in "Eyes" was cleared for only five years, and the executive producer died before renewing the rights. "Eyes on the Prize," which was produced by Blackside Inc., a film and television company founded by Henry Hampton, won 23 awards, including two Emmys, for outstanding documentary and for outstanding achievement in writing. The first six parts aired in 1987. It was last broadcast on PBS in 1994. Many of the rights in the eight-part sequel, "Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads (1965-1985)," expired five years after it aired in 1990.

Nell: ah, that explains it. It seemed so mysterious that such a wonderful series would just vanish like that. (When I wondered about this, there was no Google.)

Mine was here. I meant to put it up last night, but forgot.

I was going to explain about the rights issue, but I see Nell saved me the trouble.

I watched my videotapes a number of times over, myself, while I still had them. (Unfortunately my broadcast reception here is so bad that it's not practical to tape anything to keep, darn it.)

In the Seattle area PBS channel KCTS 9 will show it under "American Experience". The first episode airs Monday Oct. 2, 9PM. It is repeated Oct 6 at 3AM.

Hilzoy,

As Gary pointed out at his blog, and as I'm sure you know, the VHS edition is expensive (I think I saw a used edition at Amazon for $400+). You might look into how much it would cost to transfer a VHS copy to DVD. I was trying to save some old 16mm films from rotting away in a university library some years back and found that transfering them to VHS was not cost prohibitive.

"You might look into how much it would cost to transfer a VHS copy to DVD."

It's a little awkward, but actually anyone with a digital video camera made in the last 3-4 years or so can do it by inputting from a VCR into the camera, recording it on the digital media, then transferring that via Firewire or USB 2.0 to a computer that can DVD burn.

Pain in the ass, but millions of people have the capacity, and it's cheaper than paying a shop. Also, shops may balk at the, yes, copyright violation. (I have mixed feelings on that, both respecting the right of the copyright owners, but also not seeing a lot of harm in single-user recordings, as opposed to someone mass-producing them.)

On the other hand, just using a DVD recorder -- and they're not all that expensive these days; even the stand-alone made-for-a-tv ones are only a couple of hundred bucks, or maybe even less since I last looked -- or a DVR, to tape off a good cable signal, is probably the simplest way to get a good working copy.

Being an impoverished barbarian, I've never found much wrong with old-fashioned VCR tapes off a good cable signal, myself, since I've never had a big-screen tv, where it might make a difference. (I just don't have cable these days, and get lousy broadcast reception.)

thanks!

I love reading about the civil rights movement because its leaders are such a delightful combination of fearless voices for morality, and media-savvy politicians.

K: one of the reasons I posted this -- since I don't normally post about upcoming TV shows -- is precisely that I found out about it only right before I posted this, and since I don't really pay attention to upcoming TV stuff, might easily have missed it. And after some reasonably extensive searching for this back in the 90s, that would have been a shame.

And I would never have bothered looking for it if it hadn't been That Good. (At least, I remember it being That Good, after several decades.)

"I love reading about the civil rights movement because its leaders are such a delightful combination of fearless voices for morality, and media-savvy politicians."

Um, that's a bit idealized, I have to say.

The leaders were as flawed as any human beings; MLK cheated in college, and was sleeping with women left and right. SNCC degenerated into the Black Panthers. Etc.

They weren't icons; they were humans, and not always fully admirable; this is important to know, since we're the same way, but sometimes are called upon to do similar things, nonetheless, without being either fearless, or delightful combinations.

There are tons of epic volumes on the civil rights movement, of course; I'd particularly recommend Taylor Branch and David Garrow, off the top of my head.

Hilzoy: "(At least, I remember it being That Good, after several decades.)"

As I said, I rewatched my tapes a bunch of times (and often cried again), while I still had them. I still can replay the music and narration and video of significant portions in my head, even though it's been about 15 years since I last saw them.

If you think you're surprising or contradicting me with that post, Gary, then I didn't express myself well at all. I didn't mean literally fearless. (They were good politicians though.) That's precisely WHY I like reading the history--the faction fights and all the rest.

"If you think you're surprising or contradicting me with that post, Gary, then I didn't express myself well at all."

Well, it did seem oddly idealized.

"They were good politicians though."

This still seems a rather selective characterization, or perhaps you mean it in some way I'm not quite following, or referring to some narrow definition, or something. It's unclear, to be sure, who you might include or not include in "they" and which sort of politics you have in mind.

Whether internal organizational politics, or external politics-of-the-country, people's approaches varied widely, through constant changes of tactics, and some people were very effective, and some not at all. This just doesn't seem a particularly useful generalization to me. How good a politician was H. Rap Brown? Or Fred Hampton?

There are a jillion things I admire as much as I admire about any human being about many of the civil rights leaders, but they weren't a bunch of whom any homogenous characterization can be made.

That's part of what makes it all so interesting, of course.

Gary: SNCC degenerated into the Black Panthers.

This is misleading and inaccurate. The Black Panthers had their origins completely independent of SNCC. Beyond H. Rap Brown himself, SNCC organizationally never "degenerated into the Black Panthers."

In May 1966 a faction of SNCC committed to black separatism and headed by Stokely Carmichael took over the organization from John Lewis, who favored integration. SNCC then began to eject its white members. Carmichael soon issued a call for Black Power, a term used to describe a series of new tactics and goals, including an i nsistence on racial dignity and black self-reliance, and the use of violence as a legitimate means of self defense.

As Carmichael and his successor as chairman of SNCC, H. "Rap" Brown, became national symbols of black radicalism, SNCC became an even more controversial organization. Both were accused of instigating racial division and violence. Opposition became stronger in 1968 when the Black Panther Party—founded in Oakland, California, in 1966—emerged as the preeminent organization upholding Black Power.
The Panthers advocated violence, if necessary, to achieve their goals and battled police in Chicago and Oakland. Several of the organization's leaders were killed and others imprisoned for killing policemen.

SNCC and the Black Panthers cooperated on various levels in the late 1960s, organizing rallies and sharing offices in certain cities, but the relationship between the groups was often shaky, with SNCC members often disagreeing with the Black Panther's advocacy of violent confrontation. Carmichael was expelled from SNCC in August 1968 over his support for guerrilla tactics and the use of violence in urban areas. He worked to organize Black Panther chapters during the next year, but later dropped out of that organization. In the summer of 1969, Brown changed SNCC's name to the Student National Coordinating Committee, indicating that the group would retaliate violently if forced to do so. However, Brown's mounting legal problems left him with little time to devote to the group and in 1970 he went into hiding after being charged with arson, inciting a riot, and transporting weapons across state lines. The organization became virtually defunct. link

It also makes a difference what span of years a person is referring to with the phrase "civil rights movement", and how broadly s/he defines it. Fred Hampton isn't usually thought of as part of the civil rights movement.

Stokely Carmichael also left SNCC, and became a Panther shortly after. But he went on beyond the BPP, too.

"It also makes a difference what span of years a person is referring to with the phrase 'civil rights movement', and how broadly s/he defines it."

Yes, I thought I covered that with "it's unclear, to be sure, who you might include or not include in 'they' and which sort of politics you have in mind...."

My point was that it's not useful to make a sweeping generalization about the "leaders" of the "civil rights movement," given how many, and disparate, people fall under that label by any definition. Without defining one's terms, such a statement will either be wrong or meaningless.

For that matter, neither was or is personal admirability particularly related to either political effectiveness or righteousness of cause. Perfectly horrid people are often right, and perfectly lovely people wrong. And fearless people are often so for dreadful causes, and fearful people so for admirable causes.

And, in fact, media-savvy people are very often not remotely delightful. Karl Rove is highly media-savvy.

"It also makes a difference what span of years a person is referring to with the phrase 'civil rights movement', and how broadly s/he defines it. Fred Hampton isn't usually thought of as part of the civil rights movement."

Oh, but I should have mentioned that the span of years is, of course, that covered by Eyes On The Prize. I didn't think that was a question. (The first series was 1954-1965, and the second was 1965-1985.) The Black Panthers were certainly discussed; who Katherine had in mind as "leaders" is a question I can't answer.

"And, in fact, media-savvy people are very often not remotely delightful. Karl Rove is highly media-savvy."

Oh, wow. You don't say! Of course, nothing I said remotely implied to the contrary, but I'm clearly slow so it's good to have this spelled out.

I was admittedly imprecise, but if you could just cool the "fifth grade teacher grading my essay thing" a teeny bit I would appreciate it.

I was thinking of the leaders of the movement in the South during the 1950s and the 1960s, in particular the SCLC and the SNCC back under Lewis and before when it actually was nonviolent, as portrayed in a variety of sources but especially the interviews in "My Soul is Rested" by Howell Raines.

As for what I mean by "politically savvy"--hil calls it "attending to tactics."

"I was admittedly imprecise, but if you could just cool the 'fifth grade teacher grading my essay thing' a teeny bit I would appreciate it."

I apologize if I came across that way; I have great admiration for you.

However, I can only respond to what you write, rather than to what you think.

Did yoy know some wackos from PETA want civil rights for fish? they even want a constitutional amendment for fish but what dose that mean those who eat fish like seabirds,seals,bears,snakes,other fish and humans? this means there more brains in aminnow then in those PETA idiots

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