Washington University gets $550,000 grant to preserve “Eyes on the Prize”

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The original Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, the critically acclaimed 1987 documentary on PBS, will be preserved with a $550,000 donation from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Washington University in St. Louis Library announced today (April 19). The four-year grant will support work to copy the images from acetate-based film, highly susceptible to decay, to a more stable, polyester-based film. Included in the project are the documentary’s complete, unedited interviews. The original film and interview footage were donated to the University Libraries in 2001 as part of the Henry Hampton Collection, one of the largest archives of civil rights media in the United States. The filmmaker is a native of St. Louis (Current’s 1998 obituary). An updated version of the film, tracing the history up to 1985, ran last year on American Experience.

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