Dozens of films about the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s have made it to the cinema. Movies centered around the stories of key figures like Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Nelson Mandela, and The Black Panther Party have been viewed in theaters nationwide. However, a film centered on the man who many consider to be the patriarch of the movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has never made it to the big screen…until now. Selma, directed by Ava DuVerney and written by DuVerney and Paul Webb, is the story of the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 and Dr. King’s struggle for justice and equality. The film stars David Oyelowo as Dr. King, Carmen Ejogo, Common, Oprah and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
After watching the trailer for Selma, I can’t help but think about Ferguson and the unrest that is anticipated in light of the leak that the grand jury will not be indicting officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown. To see police in Ferguson re-stocking tear gas and bringing in military vehicles is a clear reminder of March 7, 1965, often referred to as “Bloody Sunday”. The day that the first march from Selma to Montgomery took place and marchers were attacked by police with tear gas and billy clubs. The fact that there is any semblance between the days of the civil rights era and November 2014 is more than unsettling. I pray that the violence that ensued on Bloody Sunday does not take place after the grand jury renders its decision. I also pray that films like The Butler, The Help, 12 Years A Slave and Selma keep us reminded that the similarities between 1965 and 2014 should not be the level of violence but the lengths that we are willing to go for justice and equality.
Watch the trailer for Selma below.