My husband and I went to see Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma, several weeks ago. We both thought that it was one of the best movies that we had seen in some time. My liking of the movie was only reinforced when its theme song, Glory, won “Best Song” last evening at the Academy Award.
The synopsis of Selma (www.fandango.com), starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., a historical drama set during the height of the American civil-rights movement in 1963 for the purpose of establishing voting rights for disenfranchised black Americans. Clearly, the movie depicts the desire of black American citizen to exercise their constitutional rights to vote, a defiance of southern segregationist practices at the time. By the way, Oprah Winfrey, the director, cameos as one of these angry and disgruntled Black Americans who is trying to register to vote.
The movie depicts a series of peaceful protest marches from March 7th to March 25th that Martin Luther King, Jr., and his civil rights colleagues organized and led on a three 54-mile marches from Selma, AL, to the state capital of Montgomery to secure voting rights for black people. All three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1963 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and were instrumental in having the passage two years later of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act is now considered a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.
Ok, now I’ll return to the movie’s theme song, Glory, which I mentioned in the opening paragraph. John Legend’s song calls all of us into action to continue to pray and make social justice come about in the American society and around the world for all who suffer from oppression.
“Justice for all just ain’t specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin’ us
Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us
That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, “Stay down” and we stand up”
Now, I recognize that I, as a white middle class woman from the northern states of the United States, I have not experienced the micro-aggressions and prejudices that my black brothers and sisters do. However I pray that I will always have the courage to stand with the oppressed. As a person of faith who is committed to work towards the end of the violence that is still perpetrated against people of color, or against people of other religions, or against people with alternative sexual identities, I stand with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in working to root out injustice, but in a peaceful manner. I hope that you will too. .