Thursday, October 05, 2006

Eyes on the Prize

Rosa Parks' mug shot

I caught the first installment of PBS's re-airing of the absolutely amazing series Eyes on the Prize.

The Civil Rights movement had its big events, like the Montgomery bus boycott and the march on Washington, but there were so many other important events, and Prize covers them with fantastic archival footage. See it - you'll learn alot.

One thing I learned, although I admit it's not an especially elevated piece of knowledge - I learned that when he was in his 20s, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fine fine fine looking man. And I don't just mean when he was orating, although as a genius of the art and the foremost orator of the 20th century, watching him deliver a speech certainly has a sexy charm. But I mean even just images of him sitting on a bus - if you didn't know who he was and you happened upon him on the street, you would say to yourself that this was a hot guy. It seems almost sacriligeous to say it because everybody's image of King is as the symbol of the civil rights movement, all austere and noble. But it certainly puts his infidelities in perspective - women were probably throwing themselves at him, and it was tough for him to resist the temptation.

But there's so much more to the series than my own cute-guy mania. You'll be astounded, appalled, heart-broken, exhilarated and riveted by this series. And you'll be amazed you didn't know half this stuff - especially if you consider yourself generally well-read and up on recent history. The web site I linked to above has video clips so you can get a sense of the mind-blowing footage of this incredible time period, some of which happened during my own lifetime.

The first part of the re-broadcast is playing on cable channel 13 in the NYC market. Check your listings if you live elsewhere. I think each installment gets a week of broadcasts.

But I swear, if I have to hear one more Southerner whine about how desegregation is going to destroy his precious white "heritage" I'm gonna reach through the TV, across the country and through time and smack the living shit out of him.