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Umrath Hall

Eyes on the Prize: Teaching the Civil Rights Movement’s Past and Future

Join civil rights activist, filmmaker, and educator Judy Richardson in a conversation with St. Charles High School social studies teacher and coach David Forbes, a St. Louis “teacher of the year.” The two will discuss teaching the history of the civil rights movement and its continued relevance to today’s students. Richardson, who worked on all fourteen hours of Eyes on the Prize, will also give a unique behind-the-scenes look at the making of this historic series. Richardson was a researcher and the series associate producer and education director on the Academy Award-nominated and multi-award-winning PBS series. 

Eyes on the Prize tells the story of the civil rights movement (1954-1985), but only through the voices of those who actually lived this history. Its focus on grass-roots leadership was ground-breaking. She and Forbes will use clips highlighting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Black Panther Party in Chicago, Dr. King’s focus on economic justice, and other segments to show the leadership role of “ordinary people.” They will reveal how the story-telling techniques, solid research, and actual footage from that time make this history come alive for students of every age. Eyes on the Prize continues to be shown on PBS stations nationally and in schools throughout the country because of its relevance to issues we face today. It remains a vital record of the continuing struggle organized by a variety of ordinary Americans to correct the racial and economic inequities of American society.

This discussion is organized by the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections at the Washington University Libraries. The Libraries are honored to care for the collection of St. Louis-born Henry Hampton’s Blackside, Inc., which produced Eyes on the Prize and other important documentary series on African American history, arts, and culture. This event is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which has funded the Libraries’ work to digitize and restore the 183 interviews from the second season of Eyes on the Prize.

Free and open to all, registration required.

Bio:

Judy Richardson was on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) staff in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama from 1963-66. She was a founder of Drum & Spear Bookstore, once the country’s largest African American bookstore. She was on the production team for all fourteen hours of the seminal PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, as its series associate producer and education director, then continued to produce documentaries for PBS, the History Channel, and museums. Richardson co-edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, a compilation of the testimonies of fifty-three SNCC women, and co-directed two NEH three-week teacher institutes, co-hosted by Duke University and focused on teaching grassroots movements. Judy is a member of the SNCC Legacy Project board and the SNCCDigital website editorial board. She was a visiting professor at Brown University, and has an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College. Currently, she is co-producing two films, including the new orientation film for the National Park Service’s Frederick Douglass House in Washington, D.C.