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1997 Career Achievement Award: Henry Hampton

By IDA Editorial Staff

Henry Hampton wears a tie smiles and poses for the camera.

Known widely as the creator and executive producer of Eyes on the Prize, Henry Hampton's credits also include The Great Depression (PBS, 1993). Malcolm X: Make It Plain (The American Experience, 1994), America's War on Poverty (1995) and the recent Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America (1996).

Hampton founded Blackside, Inc. in 1968 and has served as its president, chiefly responsible for film and television concept development, marketing and corporate development. He has produced or been responsible for more than 60 major film and media projects, including several multiple film series for J. Walter Thompson, the National Institute for Mental Health and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Eyes on the Prize has received numerous awards since the initial broadcast in 1987. The 14-hour PBS film series on America's civil rights movement was broadcast nationally in prime time and reached more than 20 million viewers, becoming one of the most highly acclaimed programs on television. The first six hours received the Gold Baton in the duPont-Columbia Awards: the second installment received the Silver Baton. Peabody Awards, Emmys, an Academy Award nomination and an IDA Award followed. Time magazine hailed the series as the "Best of the Decade."

From 1963 to 1968, Hampton was director of broadcasting and information for the Unitarian Universalist Association, the national religious organization based in Boston. His B.A. degree is in pre-med and English literature, from Washington University in St. Louis. Among the many awards he has received are: the Loeb Fellowship, Harvard University; Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union's Roger Baldwin Award; and fourteen honorary college degrees. In 1990, Hampton was named by President Bush as one of five Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the humanities and was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize for his achievements. His civic service has involved the Museum of Afro American History, the Boston Center for the Arts, the Revson Foundation and many others. He serves on the IDA Board of Directors, is a member of the Society of American Historians and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently, Hampton is leading the production of a ten-hour series on post-colonial Africa and also a six-hour series for PBS, entitled I'll Make Me a World, about African American Arts in the 20th century.

Past Recipients Career Achievement Award

  • 1996 Ted Turner
  • 1995 Marcel Ophuls
  • 1994 Albert Maysles
  • 1993 Robert Drew
  • 1992 Walter Cronkite
  • 1991 Bill Moyers
  • 1990 Frederick Wiseman
  • 1989 Jacques-Yves Cousteau
  • 1988 David L. Wolper
  • 1987 Richard Leacock
  • 1986 Fred W. Friendly
  • 1985 Pare Lorentz;