With the current state of race relations in America being what it is today, the historical film Selma could not have come at a more opportune time to remind society of how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go toward civil rights. Nor could I find a better day, being the nationally recognized holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or movie to begin the new #MovieMonday series with. This movie gives so much more significance to a man and one of his many movements that helped advance the United States, socially and politically.
To commemorate 50 years since the March on Selma lead by Dr. King, this movie celebrates the actions taken by Dr. Martin Luther King to bring change to politics and social justice during a time when racial inequality created violence across the country, particularly in the South. The 1964 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama was a protest led by Dr. King, James Bevel, Hosea Williams, John Williams and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Obtaining voting rights and equality in the South was the main goal for the protest. Viewers learn about Dr. King’s personal life, influence across the country, and ways the American government kept close watch on his every move. You also witness the events that lead to the march, the violence endured by protestors, and the victories the protest brought to the South. The accuracy of the depiction of King’s relationship with then president Lyndon B. Johnson has been challenged, but it has been reassured that their relationship was stressed because of Dr. King’s willingness to bring forth the issue and the rejection he faced. David Oyelowo does astounding and magnificent portrayal of the great civil rights leader. Oyelowo studied tirelessly to prepare himself for his duty and he played the role with conviction, dedication and heart. Carmen Ojogo gave her talents to being Dr. King’s loving wife, Coretta Scott-King, and gave an incomparable performance as well. The supporting cast made the film very engaging and included a number of notable faces including Oprah, Common, Niecy Nash, Tom Wilkinson, Lorraine Toussant, Ledisi, Wendell Pierce, and Cuba Gooding Jr. amongst so many others. All of these wonderful actors were led and directed by the brilliant director, Ava DuVernay. The historical context of the movie goes beyond the art of filmmaking and glides into the fight for social justice. While there still is not a post-racial America, Dr.King’s efforts toward that goal are more than evident in the depiction of Selma.
Not only does this amazing director, cast and crew document history with this film, they have also made history. Selma has helped progress a movement that was already in motion due to the violence against unarmed black men by police officers across the nation in recent months. The cast have engaged in protests themselves and have encouraged people to do more than see the film, but to also live up to what the Selma march was for; equality. The film has been made available for 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to view the film for free. For a list of participating cities and rules, click here. If this wasn’t enough reason to go out and support the film, watch the trailer below and witness a small piece what you are missing out on.