Selma Director: Ava DuVernay
Screenwriter: Paul Webb
Cast: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Wendell Pierce Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 127 Minutes
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere, I Will Follow), Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the explosive three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The 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.
Selma isn’t the first film about the civil rights movement, nor is it the first to feature Dr. King. What makes DuVernay’s film special, however, is that it doesn’t depend on the stereotypical white savior to rescue people of color from their plight. Films like Mississippi Burning, Ghosts of Mississippi, and To Kill a Mockingbird explore segregation, racism, and injustice for African Americans, but always with the help of an idealistic white person.
Democratic Congressman John Lewis is one of the last true American heroes we have still living. As congressman for Georgia’s 5th district since 1987, Lewis has served the people of his state with great strength and integrity. One of Congress’ staunchest liberal members, Lewis supported gay rights and universal health care, came out in opposition to the first Iraq War in 1991 and the North American Free Trade Agreement, and was the first member of the House of Representatives to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush over his warrant-less wiretapping of U.S. citizens.
Prior to the beginning of his political career, Lewis was one of the most integral figures in the Civil Rights Movement. He was the youngest member of the “Big Six” group of black leaders that worked tirelessly to bring about great change in the American societal and political structure that had been oppressing African-Americans for centuries. One of the key moments in the history of the movement was the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that took place in our nation’s capital, culminating in Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech before the Lincoln Memorial.
Congressman Lewis has teamed up with Top Shelf Productions for March, a trilogy of graphic novels documenting his lifelong role in the Civil Rights Movement.
A Ripple of Hope Netflix | Amazon Instant Video DVD
Directed by Donald Boggs
Starring Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, John Lewis
PBS Home Video
Originally Released: April 04, 2008
"Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. "
– Robert F. Kennedy
With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21, I opted to grab a streaming documentary in recognition of the day of remembrance. While most King documentaries focus on the man’s life, his famous speeches, his significance in the Civil Rights movement, or his murder, the short PBS documentary entitled A Ripple of Hope instead focuses on the historic speech made by Robert F. Kennedy on the day of Dr. King’s death.
It may be bold of me to say so, but it’s my belief that countless young people don’t understand King’s significance in this nation’s history – indeed, many of my own generation have little comprehension of his importance. We may know of him, but many of us did not live during the days of segregation and the uphill battle faced by African American during the time. And yet, we’ve all benefited from an improved prevailing social outlook and attitude in not only welcoming our cultural differences, but also in celebrating them in unity.