The film “Eyes on the Prize” focuses on the civil rights issues of the 1950s and 1960s and the use of direct action for social justice. Direct action is the use of strikes, protest and demonstration to achieve a goal. Jim Lawson, a professor from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, taught African Americans in his workshops nonviolence techniques and tactics. Sit-ins were a major part of direct action. During the sit-ins, African Americans were harassed and attacked. Three students led the first sit-in Nashville and nothing happened. Waitresses were so nervous, they broke many dishes. After a couple sit-ins, the African Americans started getting attacked by the whites. The police did not do anything to protect the African Americans.
African Americans' spending accounted for more than half of the retail sales in the city. An example of direct action is the National Boycott. This ocurred when Africans Americans stopped spending money in local business in the South and the North where they were treated unfairly. Many local business started losing business, and some eventually had to close down. This tactic was a very smart one used by the African Americans. In order to achieve their demands, they figured out they should attack the power structure economically . Another direct action used by the African Americans was to stop riding the bus.
The most memorable part of the the non-violent action in Nashville was when the African American remained true to their values of non-violence even when there brutally beaten down. This shows how committed they were in gaining their civil rights. I can’t imagine getting attacked and not doing anything about it. My first instinct is to fight back, but the African Americans were well trained to remain nonviolent.
A good source in this film is a freedom rider like Jim Zwerg. A quote that stands out the most to me is “It’s going to hurt me more than it hurt you, Hurt Peewee more than it hurt me.” This stands out to me because Peewee is a short muscular guy that was sent to remove the mattress from Leonard, and Peewee started crying even though he is the one punching Leonard in the head. This shows how emotional he is. From watching this film, I learned that we take our rights and freedom today for granted. We need to realize many public figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks fought hard for equality, and we need to appreciate this.
NAACP- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was one of the founders of the NAACP. The NAACP is a organization dedicated to fighting injustice and discrimination. The main goal is to insure political, educational and social equality for minorities. The NAACP also helped to accomplish many victories for minorities, like enactment of anti-lynching laws and achieving victory in the U. S. Supreme Court in the Brown vs. Board of Education case, which made education segregation unlawful.