Celebrate Black History Month with Selma
Selma is one of only a handful of movies about the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. who received the Nobel Peace prize in 1964 for preaching non-violent protest. The movie follows King’s involvement in the Selma-to-Montgomery March. He was 36 when events (including three deaths) surrounding the march unfolded.
Director Ava DuVernay took on the challenge of bringing this pivotal historical character to the big screen, making him more accessible to a wide audience. She portrays the meetings between King and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson as they debated the lack of teeth in the Civil Rights Act. Despite the Act’s passage, most Blacks in Alabama and other southern states were still denied the right to register to vote.
However during script development, Selma’s filmmakers had to rewrite King’s speeches to capture the essence of his words without using them directly. After delivering his “I have a dream” speech, King sent a copy of it to the U.S. Copyright office. In the months that followed King sued to maintain control the distribution of his speech even though it was given in a public forum. Since King’s death his estate has continued to take action against those who use the speech without authorization.
But while you won’t be able to hear King’s actual speech, the film introduces not only the Civil Rights leader but many other activists involved in the movement.