The documentary Eyes on the Prize tells the explicit story of the civil rights time and essentially from the point of view of the average men and women whose surpassing actions established a movement that changed the whole framework of American life. Eyes on the shows the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation in the southern states. It is the story of all kinds of people -- young and old, daughter and sons, mothers and father. It shows how students both from high school and college went to their first sit-in. At first nothing much really happened and then one day a gang of mob waiting outside the restaurant attacked the students during their sin-ins and the police did nothing to stop it. But that didn't discourage them, it actually encouraged them to continue their non-violent actions. The movement not only portrait black students but also white boys who wanted to make a difference. Those who stood up were beaten and arrested; it didn't matter if you were white or black.
What was really memorable and educational about the non-violent direct action in Nashville was that normal students just like me who not only went out but also risked their life's to demand for change. It was mesmerizing just having seen that what the students did back then made a huge impact on the history of the united states. It was students and others like John Lewis, Diane Nash and Jim Zwerg who stood out the most in the documentary. It was their actions that made the most impact on society and encourage others to do the same. Jim stated that “Segregation must be stopped, it must be broken down” while on the hospital bed after being beaten for his belief in the movement.
The documentary shows the determination and sacrifices the students and including the parents had to make to demand rights. The documentary shows the violence the African Americans endured and yet still didn't fight back. They still stood to the non-violent action. They used their actions and words to try and make a difference not their fists.
What can really be learned from this movement is that sometimes violence isn't really the answer to every problem. You can see the same things happening around the world today, in south Africa, and the middle east. The police and authorities are using violence to hold their people back. What really stood out to me about this documentary was that the white community was willing to beat their own people from helping the movement. To me what really made this movement work was the strength, determination and patience the blacks had, the hope they had that everything would turn to be all right, and it did even though many people died trying. It was an inspiring yet memorable documentary to watch and I hope someday everyone comes to peace knowing that this battle has been fought since very long ago.
Nation of Islam
WALLACE FARD created the NATION OF ISLAM in the 1930s. Christianity was the white man's religion, declared Fard. It was forced on African Americans during the slave experience. Islam was closer to African roots and identity. Members of the Nation of Islam read the Koran, worship Allah as their God, and accept Mohammed as their chief prophet. Mixed with the religious tenets of Islam were BLACK PRIDE and BLACK NATIONALISM. The followers of Fard became known as BLACK MUSLIMS.
When Fard mysteriously disappeared, ELIJAH MUHAMMAD became the leader of the movement. The Nation of Islam attracted many followers, especially in prisons, where lost African Americans most looked for guidance. They spoke loyalty to a strict moral code and dependence on other African Americans. Integration was not a goal. Rather, the Nation of Islam wanted blacks to set up their own schools, churches, and support networks. When Malcolm X made his personal conversion, Elijah Muhammad soon recognized his talents and made him a leading spokesperson for the Black Muslims. Malcolm separated from the Nation of Islam because he discovered something about Elijah. It was said that Elijah had impregnated about six women who were under his employment and some of which had given birth to children. Nonetheless, Malcolm X could not look past Elijah's sham, and in March 1964, ended his relationship with the NOI. He started his own religious organization, called the Muslim Mosque, Inc., on March 12, 1964. Later that year, Malcolm decided to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. That proved to be a life-changing journey. He shared his thoughts and beliefs with people of other cultures and found their responses to be positive and welcoming. When Malcolm returned to the United States, he held a new outlook on the future. He began to speak to all races, not just African Americans.
The relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad became unstable after Malcolm left the NOI. Reports from undercover FBI informants indicated that Malcolm had been marked for assassination. Following numerous attempts on his life, Malcolm hardly traveled anywhere without bodyguards. In February 1965, the home where he lived with his wife and four daughters in East Elmhurst, New York, was firebombed, but the family emerged unharmed. One week after the firebomb attempt, Malcolm X was to speak at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom. Three gunmen ran on stage and shot him 15 times at close range. He was pronounced dead at a hospital on February 21, 1965.