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Henry Hampton Collection Guide

This guide will help you to use the Henry Hampton Collection at the Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis

Henry Hampton

Henry Hampton

Photo by Dave Henderson.

Biographical Note on Henry Hampton

Biographical Note

Henry Hampton (1940-1998) was a St. Louis native and 1961 graduate of Washington University. In 1968, he established his Boston-based company Blackside, Inc., which quickly became the largest African-American-owned film production company of its time. Hampton's works chronicle the 20th century's great political and social movements, focusing on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised.

Best known of Hampton's 60-plus major film and media projects was the 14-part series Eyes on the Prize which ran in primetime on PBS stations in the 1980's and 1990's. The series garnered international acclaim winning more than 20 major awards and attracting over 20 million viewers. The Boston Globe praised the series as "one of the most distinguished documentary series in the history of broadcasting." Those sentiments were echoed again when Eyes on the Prize was re-broadcast in the fall of 2006, attracting a new generation of viewers.

Hampton's other documentaries include The Great Depression (1993), Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994), America's War on Poverty (1995), Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America (1997), I'll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts (1998); Hopes on the Horizon (1999) and This Far by Faith (2003).  For synopses of Hampton's films, click here

Henry Hampton and Blackside won many awards over the years, including a Peabody Award for Excellence in broadcast journalism. An episode of Eyes on the Prize II was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1988, and episodes five and six of Eyes II won Emmy Awards. Blackside also produced companion books for many of their films, and created educational outreach programs to help students learn about the Civil Rights Movement.