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Keep your eyes on the prize

I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of PBS’s incredible Eyes on the Prize documentary series. I remember seeing a couple of episodes as a youngster, and it really helped me get to know what the civil rights movement had been all about. Watching it again 20 years later, it is still just as gut wrenching and powerful. The commitment of the members of the non-violence movement completely astounds me; it makes me feel proud that some people are capable of such great feats. The positive message of the series doesn’t emphasise the hatred of the whites (although for obvious reasons this is inescapable). The level of this hatred equally astounds me and terrifies me. If I had been raised in rural Mississippi and lived there in the mid 1960s, what would my world view have been? I’m prone to denial, so it’s especially hard to accept that I probably would have been the same as the racists that I now find it so easy to judge. It begs the question, how easy is it to know right from wrong?

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