Summary of the "Is this America?" episode of Eyes on the Prize

"Is This America?" is the fifth part of the 14–part documentary series about the Civil Rights struggle in the United States. In this episode, we learn how activists tried to combat the racism of the Mississippi Democratic Party by establishing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. We also learn about the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. Once again, we’re reminded of the deep and deadly ties between racism and Mississippi officials at the time.

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As you're probably already aware, Eyes on the Prize is an extensive 14–part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. To go with the documentary, there is a book of the same name. The name of the series derives from a folk song, "Keep Your Eyes on...

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As you're probably already aware, Eyes on the Prize is an extensive 14–part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. To go with the documentary, there is a book of the same name. The name of the series derives from a folk song, "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," that became associated with the 1950s/1960s American Civil Rights Movement.

Now, let's address your question specifically. You want a summary of the episode entitled "Is This America?" You might note that this is the only episode with a title in the form of a question. You might wonder how we're supposed to reply to the question.

As we know, the episode details the events leading up to the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery. We see activists trying to help involve Black Mississippi residents in the political process. We see them create the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as a challenge to the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party.

If we cut off our summary here, we might answer in the affirmative: Yes, this is America. It's a place where robust change and racial equality is on the horizon.

Yet if we go on to include the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, if we talk about how deputy sheriff Cecil Price helped facilitate those murders, then our summary might lead us to answer the question more negatively. We might conclude: Yes, this is America. It's a country where racism is deadly and is part and parcel of many of its institutions, including the police.

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