From the files of the Southern Regional Council, 1998
The civil rights radio documentary series "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?," produced for the Southern Regional Council by George King, is among the 34 recipients of the 57th annual George Foster Peabody Awards announced on Thursday, April 2, 1998 by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication . The awards were presented at a May 11 ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
Considered the broadcast and cable industry's most prestigious prize, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" was one of only five radio productions selected this year. The Peabodys differ from other industry awards because they are given solely on the basis of merit, rather than within designated categories.
"We feel that "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" provides a unique and meaningful view from which to examine the civil rights movement as well as current efforts toward racial justice and we are extremely honored to have the Peabody Awards commend it," say SRC Executive Director Wendy Johnson.
"Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" in 26 half-hour programs, portrays the civil rights movement for what it truly was the work of everyday people who were the foot soldiers of resistance and social change. It goes beyond the headlines and to the streets, living rooms, courts, and church basements to present the stories of unknown black and white heroes whose acts of conscience and courage remain largely untold.
Going behind the scenes in five southern cities that represent the breadth of experiences and strategies that made up the movement, it relies on the words of the men and women who watched, made, and sometimes tried to stop one of America's most powerful social movements. Their riveting first-person narratives are interwoven through rare archival recordings, period music and narratives. "The Peabody Award for "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" honors the thousands of women and men who stood together to challenge America," says Producer George King, "Their example inspires us and reminds us of the work to be done."
In addition to receiving the Peabody Award, a National Federation of Community Broadcasters' Golden Reel Award, and an Oral History Association 1997 Nonprint Media Award, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" has also received an overwhelming public response through email and telephone calls. Hundreds of email responses have been sent to the series' website, from Portland, Chicago, and Cincinnati among others, as well as from cities across the South. Many of these listeners, after praising the series and requesting copies, have expressed their desire to "get involved," extending the Council's network of supporters across the country.
The Southern Regional Council, founded in 1919 in response to race riots, has been the South's most vital interracial organization working to eliminate racial discrimination. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the SRC continues to promote racial justice, protect democratic rights, and broaden civic participation in the southern United States.