The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people _ Martin Luther King, Jr.
An evil was motivated inside the human to discourage them, uproot and suffer them. But some steps were decided to cross the bridge with this community deprived of voting rights. Leader is the one who stands for his people, who fights for their right, who faces the hurricane but crosses the path of glory. Yes the path of glory, those footsteps which crossed Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The man who raised the voice for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was American nonviolent activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
Selma is produced by Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey, and is directed by Ava DuVernay (who won the Best Director award in Sundance Film Festival for Middle of Nowhere in 2012). To my huge surprise, an American historical drama has not one but all four leading characters played by British actors. Few well-known actors played their part in this movie like Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr.
When it comes to talk about a historical drama, it becomes obvious to date the timeline and events precisely. To give a dramatic effect, some scenes are fictionalized but above all, the most important historical events in the movie are all true.
In the beginning phase of the movie, Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) who was African-American civil rights activist in 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, is denied the right to vote when asked to name all 67 judges of Alabama. Would you believe it?? Names of 67 judges!! Yeah sadly it is true not that the judges were 67, I mean that was one of the requirements from the Black voters to fulfill.
In 1964, literacy test for the black voters in Louisiana State was nothing but mental contortion. This might pave way for me to construct a new blog over the documents and bills of the sixties from the American political history. So it is better to click here. This is the page of Civil Rights Movement Veterans website in which you will find all the original documents created/distributed by Freedom Movement organization.
Ok another aspect of the movie is the speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo). The question is the accuracy of the speech if the words are MLK’s? NO. Director Ava DuVernay rewrite the speeches because there was no approval from the King’s estate to use the correct speeches. In fact the King’s estate had licensed the speeches to the DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. for an untitled project to be produced by Steven Spielberg.
Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson in the movie is one of the intensifying moments which leads to the historical decision to march from Selma to Montgomery. Some 500 people organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) attempt a peaceful walk to the Perry County Jail but police take it wrong and the beatings begin. Jimmie takes his grandpa and mum and rushes towards the nearby cafe to avoid further beatings. But police reach and has its say. Jimmie is shot by the police from a distance and dies in his mother’s arm. The only difference in accuracy is that in reality, Jimmie dies a week later in hospital.
Bloody Sunday of 1965 is one of the sorry incident in American political history. John Lewis and Hosea Williams lead 600 protestors on a 54-Mile march from Selma to Montgomery through that Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was the first of three attempts to cross the bridge for the voting rights act. What Ava showed in the movie related to this incident is remarkably true. On that Bloody Sunday, the state troopers on the horseback attacked the peace protestors, used tear gas, brutally assaulted John Lewis and Amelia Boynton (who is still alive and 103 now), and this is what the movies shows and justifies. Both Lewis and Boynton beatings got a specific seconds of screening of their beating. ‘Twill make the viewer feel if they are watching the real footage.
From this march, the importance of movie grows on you as the sorry state of Bloody Sunday melts your emotion as MLK makes a nationwide call to unite against the mischief and march against injustice and inhumanity. Further on things make look more complicated when Judge Frank Minis Johnson (Martin Sheen) issues a restraining order instead of approving the march. The picturising of second attempt of march is charismatic which is famous to be know Turnaround Tuesday. James Reeb‘s murder to the judge’s approval for the march has all its say to make a fascinating last phase of the movie reaching towards the historic march.
Selma is a global message in a very disturbed 21st century against racism, freedom and social/political rights. It is an inspiration for different generations to see the happenings of the sixties and cries of the struggles translated in cinematic venture. Those were the times when America and America’s other GMTs were radically changing. MLK’s voice for the negro communities wasn’t blocked or limited within the boundaries of America but was heard everywhere specially in Europe and specifically in Africa. Non-violence political and peaceful campaigns have always been remembered in the history.
I am very disappointed the way this year’s Academy Awards have ignored this wonderful drama. Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon B. Johnson or Tim Roth as George Wallace could have been easy pick for nominations of Best Supporting Actors, Ava DuVernay for Best Director, and of course David Oyelowo for Best Actor which precisely is one of the biggest blunder in Academy Awards’ recent history. Despite being British, Oyelowo’s MLK voice was pitch-perfect. His speeching style remind MLK’s. His passion and commitment remind MLK’s strong leadership.
Selma is easily one of the best movies of 2014. You make the best out of movie as almost all the aspects of movie are excellent. Fantastic screenplay and editing work, the ensemble cast have successfully fulfilled their duty to justify the services of the characters they played. It is one of the best tributes anyone can dedicate to MLK & his fellow peace activists & his tweeters.
“I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.”
How long? Not long, because “no lie can live forever.”
How long? Not long, because “you shall reap what you sow.”
How long? Not long:
Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own.
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
How long? Not long, because:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.”
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