‘True South’ Illuminates the Man Behind ‘Eyes on the Prize’

20BOOKELSE2-master768Dwight Garner at The New York Times:

By all accounts, the documentary filmmaker Henry Hampton (1940-1998), the force behind the pathbreaking civil rights series “Eyes on the Prize,” was larger than life. He was athletic, easy on the eyes, a public intellectual, a sharp dresser and a mensch. He was possessed of a big-bearded bonhomie.

As a child, he’d had polio and mostly lost the use of his left leg. Soon he was playing on championship wheelchair basketball teams. In his 20s, as lay director of information for the Unitarian Universalist church, he marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., while wearing a steel leg brace.

He opened his film company, Blackside, in Boston in 1968. He slowly gathered around him an assortment of young people who would become many of America’s leading documentarians. They loved him like a father, Jon Else suggests in his new book, “True South: Henry Hampton and ‘Eyes on the Prize,’ the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement.” He also drove them insane.

more here.