Selma Revisited

th (1)I had the opportunity to see the movie Selma a few days ago, which was OUTSTANDING! I can remember the time from my youth. As a point of reference, I grew up and lived in the north but witnessed the same bigotry and racism. What struck me was it was jarringly similar to what I see today. We are often told how far black people have come. Maybe the question should be – why is it necessary to say because as so-called American’s; we should be equal.

Even if the film does take some dramatic license with historical facts, it is a film, after all, not a documentary. I will speak as a witness and history proves me right that it was not far off with regard to the wretchedness of the racial climate of the time. Let me remind you of what Brother Malcolm said, and I agree, “Anywhere south of Canada is the South”. What the movie shows is the secret soul of America that continues to live in the hearts of many today. I say secret because white America fails to acknowledge the shameful behavior of their people, then or now.

We relive the same hatred and witness the same racism in the twenty-first century. One thing that can’t be disputed is the powerful way Selma depicts the civil rights activists both well-known and unsung who fought for justice. In my heart of hearts I ask where are the same kind of  men and women with such conviction for civil rights today. The despicable acts of Selma or the atrocities that occurred all over America during that era are ever present today; we have seen the Zimmerman types and Ferguson. So the gene that produces hate has been passed down through the years.

7Just as in the epic film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle for voting rights in the Deep South. We are still fighting that fight today. White America cannot fathom the indignities of their Apartheid like system of justice imposed upon black people they created and called Jim Crow . Seeing the movie will make you better understand the whitewashing of history, because they can’t allow their kids, little Billy and Jane, know how wretched their forefathers and grandparents where to other human beings. I suppose it’s like the Santa Clause story – they honorable people!

I can’t change the hearts of a race of people in a few words because no one has been able to do so in centuries. However, when you see the movie understand that the events of Bloody Sunday was not the worst that was done to black people during that era. I want to add an important insight to the story, which was the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

It was named after or dedicated to an Alabama native who served as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. After his side lost, he led the Alabama Ku Klux Klan and was later elected to the U.S. Senate. Given the Klan’s terroristic history against black people, it’s only fitting that a bridge named after one of its leaders is now forever known as a national historic landmark in tribute to the civil rights movement.

A few more important facts you should know. The day the Voting Rights Act was signed wasn’t an arbitrary date. When King and other Selma activists joined Johnson at the White House for the signing of the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965, the day’s historical significance may have been lost to some. But on that day in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Confiscation Act, the first of two, which freed all slaves who were being used by the Confederacy. The acts were a precursor to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all the slaves in rebel states.

In addition, it was the Selma movement that helped give birth to the Black Panther Party. At the end of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., 23-year-old SNCC activist Stokely Carmichael decided to head to Lowndes County, Ala. where 80 percent of the population was black but where there were zero black registered voters to build a new political party.

He formed the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, which used the Black Panther as its symbol. In October 1966 Carmichael, who was now head of SNCC and a leading voice of the black power movement, was a keynote speaker at a conference in Berkeley, Calif. In attendance were Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, who would adopt the black-panther logo of the LCFO for a new organization they were forming in Oakland, California, called the Black Panthers.

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This movie proves that black people can do movies about black people more realistic than others can, i.e., their version of “Moses”! I strongly suggest that you see the movie and take you children! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Welcome to Thought Provoking Perspectives a blog designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge to broaden the information base with those who share my passion for the written word and the empowerment of thought. View all posts by Thought Provoking Perspectives

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