Collaboration with the National Civil Rights Museum

4 Apr

The Film & Media Archive has collaborated with the National Civil Rights Museum to add film and audio from the Henry Hampton Collection to the museum’s permanent collection.

The newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum will re-open on April 5, one day after the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. To mark the re-opening the museum will hold a forum hosted by Tavis Smiley that will feature panelists including Marian Wright Edelman, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Attorney Barry Goldstein, among others. The re-design of the museum sought to feature more multi-media and interactive exhibits to help visitors experience and understand more of the history of the civil rights movement.

As Executive director Beverly Robertson said in a story from NPR,

It was time to take a fresh look at the civil rights movement through the eyes of the people who gave it life…We had to blend history, technology, information boards, artifacts, audio, video to create what we believe is an engaging museum.”

Visitors can sit at a segregated lunch counter or on a segregated bus while they listen to audio of the speech Martin Luther King gave at the Holt Street Baptist Church at the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

This focus on multi-media exhibits and displays featuring audio and video of primary source material made the Film & Media Archive a great partner for the  National Civil Rights Museum. Henry Hampton, creator of Eyes on the Prize, shared similar goals for his series and wanted to highlight the accomplishments, actions, and leadership of people who were not famous but who made up the movement and made its success possible.

Sections and excerpts of the interviews from the Henry Hampton Collection now on permanent exhibition at the museum include ones with people who had never been publicly interviewed before Eyes on the Prize, such as Jo Ann Robinson, one of the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Josephine Mayes, a voting rights activist, and William O’Neal, an FBI informant from Chicago.

Other video and audio footage of interviewees will be on permanent display including sections from the following interviews: Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine; E.D. Nixon, civil rights leader from Montgomery; Diane Nash, student leader in the Nashville movement; James Farmer (audio only), national civil rights leader and one of the organizers of the 1961 Freedom Rides; Victoria Gray Adams (audio only), a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic PartyJohn Hulett, voting rights activist in Lowndes County, Alabama; and Huey Newton, Black Panther activist.

The full text of all of these interviews are available on the Eyes on the Prize Interviews digital project site which also contains complete transcripts for all the interviews from Eyes on the Prize.




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