Print this page
Saturday, 10 January 2015 12:47

Selma -- the movie

Written by  News reports compiled by Team SCPA

Posted Jan. 10, 2015

SELMA, The Movie
This is a 5-star must-see movie! Fabulous. Make sure young people see this. This history must not be forgotten, ever.


'Selma' Backlash Misses The Point
By Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of History, Tufts University

Ava DuVernay's Selma is a cinematic masterpiece that depicts one of the most important episodes in civil rights history. The film presents history as a kaleidoscope, documenting the roiling Selma-to-Montgomery demonstrations that turned Alabama into a national symbol of racial violence and injustice in 1965. Many movie critics have enthusiastically praised Selma for its complex and intelligent screenplay and direction. David Oyelowo's extraordinary performance as King anchors a movie of unusual depth and breadth. ...

The real problem many critics have with this film is that it's too black and too strong. Our popular reimagining of the civil rights movement is that it's something we all did together and the battle is over; that's just not true. …

… Selma reminds us to honor not just the heroic figure making speeches, but the collective will of so many who made progress possible. Ultimately, the beating heart of this film rests not with its portrait of LBJ, or even King, not with what group has been left out or ignored, but with the larger truth that the civil rights movement's heroic period reflected our collective strengths and weaknesses as a nation, something Americans are loathe to recognize let alone acknowledge. Selma's greatest gift is that, even when it reimagines some moments of history, it remains unflinching in its examination of America's racial soul.


Peniel E. Joseph is Professor of History at Tufts University and the author of 'Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.' You can follow him on Twitter @PenielJoseph.


Why You Should Care That Selma Gets LBJ Wrong
Time, by David Kaiser, Jan.9, 2015

Even in the movies -- and especially in this one -- accuracy matters

The film Selma—in wide release Jan. 9—tells one of the most dramatic stories in modern American history, of Martin Luther King Jr.’s successful crusade for voting rights in Alabama in 1965. It triggered a smaller drama of its own when former Lyndon Johnson aide Joseph Califano attacked its portrayal of his old boss in the Washington Post. The film is a well-produced and well-acted drama that will draw a lot of Oscar attention. …


David Kaiser, a historian, has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and the Naval War College. He is the author of seven books, including, most recently, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

Selma and Richard Valeriani: A Reporter's Story
By Nancy Doyle Palmer, journalist and screenwriter

… I recently interviewed Richard Valeriani, a former NBC News correspondent and friend who both covered Selma and watched Selma. He himself suffered a head injury just weeks before the March 7 "Bloody Sunday" march across Edmund Pettus Bridge. Here is what he had to say about the film; in true form, he had some criticisms as well as some kudos.

Nancy Doyle Palmer: You were part of the national press that covered the Selma march. Does this film accurately reflect the role of journalists in bringing Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil-rights movement to national attention?

Richard Valeriani: While this excellent film pretty accurately depicts the events in Selma, it does not accurately reflect the role of journalists. And although it does a great job presenting the role of Roy Reed of The New York Times, who did indeed bring the voting-rights issue to national attention, it way underplays the role of television. The film does show the impact of the TV airing of "Bloody Sunday," which was the key factor that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But it neglects the role of TV in general in bringing the events in Selma to the American people nightly. The TV coverage was much more important than the New York Times coverage. In fact, when I called Roy Reed about the film, he was astonished that he had been portrayed so prominently instead of the TV coverage. …

… There was no way print could capture the drama and the vicious attack on the demonstrators on "Bloody Sunday" the way TV did. I put it on the air with hardly any narrative. I simply said something like, "Civil rights activists demonstrating for voting rights tried to march from Selma to Montgomery today but were stopped by Alabama state troopers. Here's what happened." Then one minute of film, then, "The demonstrators say they'll try again tomorrow." Another thing national TV coverage did was to force local newsmen to be much more honest and accurate in their reporting. ...

Compiled by Team SCPA


Last modified on Saturday, 10 January 2015 13:07
Login to post comments