More on “Eyes on the Prize”

/ 7 February 2005

The Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement have issued a statement supporting the civilly disobedient showings of “Eyes on the Prize” on February 8th:

"We who are veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s support efforts to open the corporate copyright vaults and allow people to view "Eyes on the Prize."

"We strongly defend the original purpose of copyright which was to protect creators, -- artists, composers, performers, photographers, writers, and others, -- from theft of their work, and to ensure that creators could make a living from their craft. But today media conglomerates have imprisoned the copyrights that once belonged to the creators, seizing the income that rightfully belongs to those who did the work, denying access to those who cannot afford to pay their exorbitant fees, and sequestering information that runs counter to their corporate political agendas.

"Information, -- and particularly history, -- is as much a necessity of intellectual and economic life as food is of biologic life. Not only is it morally wrong to deny people the necessities of life, it's impractical because when people cannot afford to buy food they steal it. As citizens we know that without full access by all to multiple sources of news and information, democracy itself becomes a myth. And as Toni Morrison told us in 1986, "Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations."

"To us, knowledge is a human right every bit as important as the right to vote and the right be treated with courtesy and respect. Therefore, we do not believe that reading, or viewing, or listening is, or should ever become, a crime. Nor should access to information become a luxury sold only to the wealthy.

"The events, images, narratives, and songs of "Eyes on the Prize" were not written, created, or performed by the corporations who now have the copyrights under their lock and key. It was those who gave their lives in the struggle, the heroic children of Birmingham, the courageous citizens of Mississippi, the Selma marchers, the school integrators, the sit-ins and Freedom Riders, and the people of a thousand colleges, towns, and hamlets across the South who created the Civil Rights Movement and we have a right to have our stories told.

"Therefore, in the spirit of Southern Freedom Movement, we who once defied the laws and customs that denied people of color their human rights and dignity, we whose faces are seen in "Eyes on the Prize," we who helped produce it, tonight defy the media giants who have buried our story in their vaults by publicly sharing episodes of this forbidden knowledge with all who wish to see it.

       <p>Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement</p>
  • Chude (Pam Parker) Allen
  • Hardy Frye
  • Miriam Cohen Glickman</i>
  • Bruce Hartford
  • Don Jelinek
  • Wazir (Willie) Peakock
  • Jimmy Rogers
  • Jean Wiley
  • </ul>