SELMA, AL (WSFA) - I consider myself a student of the Civil Rights movement. I can't get enough of the stories about the courageous men and women who fought for fundamental rights. So, when I was offered the chance to attend a screening of the movie "Selma", I jumped at the opportunity. Even though I am familiar with the events that surround the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, nothing could prepare me for "Selma."
We all know the history of what happened in Selma back in 1965. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was called to town to help stop the discrimination of black people who wanted to vote. The movie gives life to the foot soldiers who were determined to change the laws. "Selma" takes the familiar black and white film and old pictures we've seen over and over again and puts them in color on the big screen. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is no longer just a voice or an image in a frame nailed on my grandmother's wall. He is real and relatable.
I enjoyed watching Dr. King laugh and joke with his closest confidants like Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and Reverend James Bevel. The movie also remembers the contributions of women to the Civil Rights movement like Amelia Boynton-Robinson, Diane Nash and Annie Lee Cooper. We also get a peek at his relationship with his wife, Coretta Scott King. While their relationship wasn't perfect, you clearly see the two loved each other. Despite the support from his wife and his closest confidants, Dr. King had a lot on his plate. He was concerned about his his family, the movement, the march and his life.
But, it was the explosive scenes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that will stay with me forever. The movie shows the violent beatings the foot soldiers endured by State Troopers and sheriff's deputies as they attempted to cross the bridge during the first march. At times I found it hard to watch. Even though the movement was non-violent, I don't think the marchers were really prepared for what they encountered that day. Would you have the courage to endure the savage beatings? Could you return to that same bridge again knowing your potential fate?
"Selma" is a powerful look at our history. While many question its accuracy, remember it's just a movie. I hope young people flood movie theaters to see the film. I hope they leave moved and inspired to learn more about the Civil Rights movement and the sacrifices made by so many men and women who only wanted to vote.