Eyes on the Prize (1987–1990)
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Mississippi: Is This America?: 1962-1964 

1964 sees the advent of Freedom Summer. Volunteers from across the country travel to the south to register Negro voters. Despite the disappearance of three volunteers in Mississippi who are... See full summary »


Orlando Bagwell


Steve Fayer


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Episode credited cast:
Ella Baker Ella Baker ... Herself - Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Delegate (archive footage)
Unita Blackwell Unita Blackwell ... Herself
Julian Bond ... Narrator
Tom P. Brody Tom P. Brody ... Himself - Segregationist judge
Dave Dennis Dave Dennis ... Himself - Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) delegate
Robert Goodman Robert Goodman ... Himself - father of slain civil rights volunteer (archive footage)
Victoria Gray-Adams Victoria Gray-Adams ... Herself - Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Delegate
Fannie Lou Hamer Fannie Lou Hamer ... Herself - Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Delegate
Hubert H. Humphrey ... Himself - U.S. Senator (archive footage)
Lyndon Baines Johnson ... Himself - U.S. President (archive footage) (as Lyndon Johnson)
James Meredith James Meredith ... Himself (archive footage)
Walter Mondale ... Himself - Minnesotta Attorney General (archive footage)
Peter Orris Peter Orris ... Himself - Freedom Summer Volunteer
Joseph L. Raugh Jr. Joseph L. Raugh Jr. ... Himself - Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Attorney
William J. Simmons William J. Simmons ... Himself - Segregationist


1964 sees the advent of Freedom Summer. Volunteers from across the country travel to the south to register Negro voters. Despite the disappearance of three volunteers in Mississippi who are later found dead, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party is formed after blacks are banned from the regular state Democratic. The summer ends with both democratic parties struggling to be recognized at the national convention in Atlantic City. Written by Havan Ironoak

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Release Date:

18 February 1987 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Blackside See more »
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Technical Specs


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User Reviews

A sad state of affairs....
14 May 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Eyes on the Prize" is an exceptional series--mostly because instead of the typical hour or half hour documentary, it's VERY thorough and very detailed---covering not just an event but the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1965--and a LOT happened during that time. This isn't surprising, as PBS has made tons of interesting and well-crafted documentaries over the years.

This fifth episode is interesting in that it's specifically about Mississippi--and why this state totally sucked during the civil rights era. You know things are bad there when even Alabama looks down on you! Again and again, when it came to mistreating blacks, denying them their rights and murder, Mississippi was generally leading the rest of the South. A few examples of the atrocities of the time included the murder of Medgar Evers and other civil rights workers (and while not talked about in the show, it took decades to get a jury to convict them despite ample proof due to all-white juries that ignored the law), repeated burning of black churches and public officials bent on maintaining the status quo--no matter what it took. As Roy Wilkens (then president of the NAACP) said about the state, it's "...the most savage and uncivilized of the fifty states....it's absolutely at the bottom of the list".

The bottom line is that all this evil really makes for a very exciting and compelling episode. You cannot help but watch it and get angry--and marvel at how horrible things were. And, because the show gets you to react so strongly, it's obviously very successful. Well worth seeing and profoundly sad.

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