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Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
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Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  696 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Eyes on the Prize traces the movement from the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education case in 1954 to the march on Selma and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. This is a companion volume to the first part of the acclaimed PBS series.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 1988 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1987)
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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  696 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Eyes on the Prize utilizes the tactic of revisionist history -- that is, telling historical events from perspectives not often considered. For instance, the master narrative or textbook version of the Civil Rights movement is generally focused on Martin Luther King and how he empowered a repressed people.

Eyes on the Prize approaches the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s with a different perspective. It starts by introducing the social elements and people between the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 an
B. P. Rinehart
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The only thing that we did was wrong
Was staying' in the wilderness too long
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on, hold on

This book is the companion piece to THE definitive documentary on the American Civil Rights Movement of the same name. This book to a subject that I already knew a lot about and gave me even more comprehensive primary sourced information about it. I read the book to the point that the cover has been torn off. The language of the book is easy enough for any one to understand
Carol Baldwin
It's hard to review a book that covers the entire Civil Rights period in as much detail as Eyes On the Prize by Juan Williams does. The book, suitable for adults and young adults, is simultaneously comprehensive, academic, and personal. Williams wrote it as a companion to the first season of the NPR series with the same title. As noted below, several segments are now on YouTube.

Even though I have read many books on the civil rights era, William's book showed how one event led to another--like d
Tom Gorski
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I normally write short reviews of a few sentences. This time it will be longer. The book, published in 1987, caught my interest after viewing an exhibition at the History Museum in St. Louis of a historical perspective on racial strife in St. Louis including several amazing women "docents" who offered a personal testimony on their times. This book covers the period 1954-1965 of the Civil Rights movement in the South and while the significant public figures are included (Ralph Abernathy, Martin L ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While often written off as simplistic and out of date, its cultural impact and relationship with the documentary leave it endearing. Written at a time when the Civil Rights movement was largely thought of as the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X; 'Eyes on the Prize' reveals the depth of the Civil Rights movement from the 1950s-1960s and focuses on how ordinary African-Americans not only participated, but developed grass root organizations that focused national and international a ...more
Liz D
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fact that this book focuses on depth rather than breadth is very much a point in its favor. It digs into eleven of the most significant years of the Civil Rights movement, blending fairly straightforward history writing (sometimes a bit dry) with photos and primary sources in an engaging way. It's interesting--and not a just a little bit discomfiting--to note some of the similarities in the attitudes and tactics of segregationists from half a century ago to some of what's going on today. [In ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-politics
I first became inspired and engaged with the American Civil Rights story when I watched the PBS documentary, "Eyes on the Prize" in the early 1990s. This book is the companion to the TV series but it really stands on its own. As a primer on the history of the "King years", it is absolutely excellent. It covers the main events in the ten years from 1954 to 1965, in enough detail that you understand both the context and the events, but not in so much depth that you lose focus. If you want to start ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i havent learned about teh civil rights movement entirely yet, but its totally awesome. its some what boring, but then also its also really interesting;.. what hapens is that it tells of the story of the civil rights movement, as well as giving little excerpts of slavery over the years. i learned more about mlk and even rosa parks. it was all about how activsts and leaders in teh civil rights movement did as much as they could for the movement... please read this in order to learn more about the ...more
David Jackson
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have always been interested in the civil rights movement, even though I am too young to remember anything about when it was in full swing (I was in kindergarten when Martin Luther King was assassinated). This book brings those years to life and has helped me better understand what the whole movement was about and what fueled the movement. I have also watched the video series of the same name and can highly recommend those as well.
Tom Huskerson
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An awesome historical account that truly reflects the struggle African -Americans endured. I enjoyed it very much. It not often that you such a compelling history book. I actually feel like I got to know a lot of the leadera of the Civil rights movement. Their feelings and determination was so powerfully described in this book. You could connect with movement through this book and whats more important you can connect with America and what society was experiencing.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My first dose of white guilt quickly turned to anger at a mis-education system that never showed me this period of our history. This book reveals the good, the bad, and the ugliness of the Civil Rights Movement. I use the PBS video companion to supplement my 6th graders' photohistory "The Day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was Shot" selection. I highly recommend watching this if you are interested in reading the book to see interviews, news footage, and commentary.
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race-stuff, history
Should be in EVERYBODY'S library, for reference as to what the heck was going on during the civil rights movement. I go back to this book every time Martin Luther King's birthday rolls around, just to refresh my memory as to just how important the civil rights era of the 50's and 60's was, and just how far we have to go to create a just, equitable society in this country.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book. The writing doesn't reach out and grab your attention, but it is a good and solid synopsis of the Civil Rights Movement. It would be very good for an introductory history class or reader. The asides which are sprinkled throughout the book can be a bit distracting, but overall these first-person accounts or excerpts from writings are helpful.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Easily the most important book I've read lately, and possibly ever. A clear and concise history that I found fascinating, shocking, and enlightening. Should be required reading for every child of the 60's and 70's like me, whose prior knowledge of civil rights basically consisted of Rosa Parks and a bus.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good book to read after Bearing the Cross by Garrow. This book provided the stories of. the many others who worked to ensure blacks had equal rights and opportunities. This book did a better job highlighting the risks that the individual blacks were taking in the fight.
SJ Loria
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Holy shit this book is awesome. Thank you Professor Melvin Ely, William and Mary. Perhaps the best professor I've had, our class used to rock out to this book. Amazing. I love the chaper on the Emmitt Till and the Freedom Ride.
Erin (NY)
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I will start by saying that I generally don't enjoy history books, but this book is SO WELL written! It actually made the civil rights movement sound fascinating! I enjoyed learning so much about the history of that time period!
Mia Mitns
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. It simplifies learning about a part of American History that is not widely taught or discussed.
Apr 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
everyone should know the story of the american civil rights movement.
Cathee Conner
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The DVD companion set is incredible.
Jim Blessing
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I saw this film series several years ago and just now read the companion book. Both were excellent! The courage of the people in fighting the awful segregation policies was remarkable.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A very thorough history of one of the most interesting periods in American history.
Linda Lipko
May 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: civil-rights
This is an indepth study of the major occurrences during the civil rights movement. It basically was a review of what I've learned from previous books.
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone, history fans
Recommended to Shelley by: school
a fairly thorough overview of the civil rights movement
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a good book if you are looking to learn more about the Civil Rights movement. Which I was, since I must have slept through every history class in my entire life.
Fran Landers
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
My personal biases and the conflicts within the black community.
Mike Clay
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Accompanying book to the 90's series aired on PBS. Excellent refresher book prior to a trip to Alabama to see some of the sites noted in the book.
Joli Wake
Been pulled to learn more on the civil rights movement history for a long time now. Did a little looking around and found this. If anyone has any more recommendations for good sources, please share!
Doris Raines
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This. Is. A. Great. Book. African. Americans. Please. Read. Thanks. Doris.
rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2015
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