The film I chose to watch and make connections with our recent discussions is called Selma. Selma is a film directed by Ava Duvernay, an African American woman who is also a screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. The film was written by Paul Webb and released on November 11, 2014. It is a British-American historical drama film and is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King.
The film starts with Martin Luther King receiving the Nobel Prize award during the still violent southern racial battles. During his acceptance speech there is a bombing at a church nearby that killed 5 little girls. Dr. King realizes that there is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregating the South, but there is still an abundance of discrimination and violence against blacks.
In one scene when one black woman voter named , Annie Lee Cooper played by Oprah Winfrey, goes to the courthouse and tries to register to vote she is immediately verbally attacked by the court house clerk saying “hope you didn’t come here to start any trouble.” Before she opened her mouth he was already harassing her. He made her cite the preamble of the constitution and state how many judges there were and still denied her right to vote. I think of Lorde’s poem “Power” when I think of Annie. She had this unforeseen power within herself and would go to great measures to try and vote. This video shows the clip of Annie at the courthouse. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=free+video+clips+of+selma+the+movie&view=detail&mid=DB7097B5DB2DEA952446DB7097B5DB2DEA952446&FORM=VIRE
Dr. King goes to Washington to speak to President Johnson to ask for federal registration for the push of black people’s right to vote. King quotes “it is a systematic intimidation and fear” for African Americans and asks for the Presidents support for the voting rights act. President Johnson detours the conversation King tries to have with him and murmur’s that there are many and more important things I have to worry about than you do. Dr. King would not back down; King, Southern Christian Leaders, and other Selma residents march to the registration office to register to vote. When they arrived, there was a confrontation and Cooper fights back knocking the white officer to the ground, which in turn sends King, Cooper, and others to jail. When Dr. King is released, an unofficial event happens during the night where troopers end up violently beating one young boy named Jimmy Lee Jackson to death. All the attacks were videotaped and the news broadcasted the horrific incident. These kinds of attacks on a different level are still present in America such as the story “When I Think of Tamir Rice While Driving”. Tamir’s death, at such a young age could have been prevented.
On one of the last marches as they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge they observe the troopers with gas masks on. When the troopers announce to head back but the group persist. They come at them with clubs, horses, tear gas, and other weapons. The assaults were broadcasted on national television as this was part of the fuel Dr. King wanted to rise against the racism and get to the heart of people.
After one more unsuccessful march, King led a group of 2,000 people from Selma on March 21, guarded by U.S. Army troops and Alabama National Guard forces. After walking many hours each day and sleeping on the side of the road, they reached Montgomery on March 25. Almost 50,000 supporters, whites included, greeted the marchers in Montgomery where they met in front of the state capitol to hear King claim “No tide of racism can stop us”. In August of 1965, Congress passed the voting rights act, which guaranteed the right to vote to all African Americans.
Selma.Prod. Movieclips.Web.YouTube.14.Dec. 2016
Selma Movie. Digital image.IMDB.
Selma. Dir. Ava Duvernay. Per. David Oyelowo. Pathe Productions.2014.DVD
Betts, Reginald Dwayne , When I Think of Tamir Rice While Driving