Editorial: ‘Selma’ not just a film

Editorial: ‘Selma’ not just a film
January 23
00:00 2015

The movie “Selma,” released nationwide on Friday, Jan. 9, depicts events leading up to the celebrated civil rights march from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery, the state’s capital, in 1965. Those events helped persuade President Lyndon B. Johnson to help push through the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the push for the Voting Rights Act, and the movie’s release nearly coincided with the national holiday in his honor.

The film has earned rave reviews and done decent business at the box office, but there has also been a wave of criticism, especially from those who object to the way Johnson is portrayed. Critics, including members of Johnson’s staff, say Johnson was not antagonistic toward the march, as they say the movie seems to depict, but actually supported it.

“Selma” was nearly shut-out of last week’s Oscar nominations, receiving only nods for Best Original Song and Best Picture, leading some to believe that the criticism took its toll.

Lost in all the headlines about the film is a movement that was reported by African-American business leaders are leading an effort to raise funds for students across the country to see “Selma” for free. The movement has spread to 25 locations nationwide – including Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill – and to more than 275,000 middle and high school students.

Current events in the United States surrounding civil rights for African-Americans makes this movie a big deal.

When you see that unarmed young black men were killed in 1965, just as they are in 2014, the movie is more than a movie; it is a horrid reflection of America. In the film, an unarmed young black man is shot by an Alabama state trooper. That could have easily been one of the unarmed young black men killed recently by police.

“Glory,” the Golden Globe-winning song that is played at the end of the movie, mentions Ferguson, Mo., where unarmed black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer.

Even if the movie fails to capture the votes of those who decide Oscar winners, “Selma” is capturing and touching hearts.

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