In 1965 in Alabama, USA, all Dr Martin Luther King Jr (played by David Oyelowo) wants is a simple life, preaching in a small parish, living in a nice house and raising a family with his wife Coretta (by Carmen Ejogo). But issues and intolerable events around him and throughout America can’t be ignored. He visits President Lyndon Johnson (by Tom Wilkinson) at the White House to try to persuade him to change the country’s laws regarding access for African Americans to be able to vote, but the President has other priorities. Dr King finally decides to act against advice and leads a campaign to achieve his deeply held belief to secure equal voting rights for all. He can’t just stand by and do nothing when African Americans in the southern states face horrendous oppression, discrimination and violence every day. He and his followers take a non-violent stance – they stand up to their oppressors and make a deep vow that “no matter what” they will march the 50 miles from Selma to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, to bring awareness to the issue and show their solidarity.
This is a serious movie about a serious issue. It covers an important three month period in American history. The story is told plainly and honestly, with the full horror of the violence and discrimination of the time clear for all to see. Real news footage from the period is used, which depicts the horrifying violence and jaw-dropping political views of the time in graphic detail. It’s difficult to watch in some places, but needs to be told. In one of the most significant victories for civil rights, Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s epic march from Selma to Montgomery results in determined action by President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Made in 2014. Directed by Ava DuVernay