Special thanks to Allied PR who hosted an advanced screening of #SELMAmovie in Atlanta. I have to admit being extremely skeptical about attending because I didn’t want to be sad during holidays. Guess what?!?!! I’m SO GLAD I MADE IT! This story is a “must see” because it breaks down the intimate details of HOW & WHY the civil rights movement was necessary. And it gives us a glimpse of the “human aspect” of our leaders and their journey.
The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march
from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.
5 things I learned from this AMAZING story:
1. Leaders need encouragement too. MLK was an intelligent, spiritual and driven man… but he also had doubts and concerns. We tend to forget that our leaders are human too. I loved the scene which included him calling gospel legend Mahalia Jackson late one night to hear a voice from the Lord. MLK and his wife Coretta spoke of this “dark fog ” hanging over them. So many death threats against them and their children… I can’t begin to imagine the courage it took to overcome those fears and to MARCH ON!
2. SELMA was a pivotal ground-breaker in the civil rights movement. I knew there were many demonstrations and marches but was NOT aware of the “Selma to Montgomery” march which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The brutality and hatred faced by the movement was terrifying and gave me a better appreciation for their sacrifice.
3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a weakness. I learned about MLK’s infidelities a few years ago and was torn between his weakness and his purpose. This was one of the FIRST movies or documentaries (that I’m aware of) to acknowledged in a subtle way… the personal challenges in the marriage. Coretta sternly asked 2 questions:
Coretta: Do you love me? MLK: Yes
Coretta: Do you love any of the others. MLK: NO
Mrs. King stood by his side because she knew he loved her and served a higher calling. In the end… I too concluded that MLK’s mission was SO much larger than both of them and that’s what mattered most.
4. The “right to vote” was MUCH more than casting a ballad. It dawned on me the TRUE impact of being able to voice your opinion through voting. DECISIONS are made and policies are changed by the power of voting. This opened the door for real change with verdicts and holding an office in the black community.
5. Unimaginable sacrifices made by demonstrators from SELMA. I was able to get through the movie without shedding a tear until they portrayed the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson by a state trooper during one of peaceful walks organized by the SCLC. There were so many brave souls including Annie Lee Cooper who fought for the right to vote and who paved the way for us.
This is OUR story. Go see this movie and tell others to see it as well. Playing in Atlanta at Regal Atlantic Station and AMC Phipps PlazaTrailer: