‘Selma’ Recounts Civil Rights Movement led by King



David Oyelowo portraying Dr. King, giving one of his famous speeches. Photo courtesy of MCT

Verenice Garcia, Staff Writer

In honor of Black History month, a lot of events occurred on and off of campus. One of which was a screening of the OSCAR nominated and Golden Globe winner film, SELMA. As a lot of people should know, the African-American community hasn’t always had it easy to say the least. In fact it still doesn’t but things have changed, even if it is minimally a change.

This change is a result of people who put their mind, body and soul into something much greater than themselves. Their fear must be buried by bravery and courage and the belief that change will come; if it’s the last thing they do. And these people believe so strongly that they continue with whatever means necessary and at any cost. All because it means something. And it will mean something greater once it’s all set and done. These are people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King, played by David Oyelowo in the film, was a courageous and determined man who had a dream to change the prejudice surrounding African-Americans in the 1960s. SELMA focused more on the years when blacks were not allowed to vote because of all the racial issues that still occurred. Even though in the Constitution of the United States of America, it states that every citizen had the right to vote. Even so, blacks were excluded from partaking in the voting process.

Dr. King, like many others ruled it unjust and decided to take a stand. He began to have followers, mostly black but some white people joined his efforts. This is after the violence and brutality that plagued their non-violent efforts.

SELMA did a great job making the audience connect to the events. Although some of them were painful to watch because of their violent nature, it was hard not to feel as if the black young man who was brutally killed by a white trooper; was just an actor and not someone’s brother. A lot of the film’s scenes were incredibly sad but had such an impact towards their goal of equal rights for all people, black or white.

In the end, the SELMA marches led to the government passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It was a story of courage and perseverance.

After the screening was over, a discussion was held. During this discussion, a man by the name of Neal Arthur graced us with his presence. This man is a hero. Most people would agree, but many people don’t have to. Everyone has a different view of life.

This is why he is a hero. Neal Arthur had actually taken part on the many marches of SELMA. He left college, or rather was kicked out because his religious university wanted nothing to do with Dr. King’s efforts. Mr. Arthur and his fellow classmates were told not to join Dr. King’s efforts or else they would be kicked out of the university. But Mr. Arthur knew he had to join Dr. King. He knew this was bigger than anything.

He spoke of everything he went through in his travels with Dr. King. He choked up as he recounted the day a little girl was bludgeoned with a brick across her face and no one did anything. Nothing. It happened right in front of him. The theater was silent as his emotions got a hold of him, with good reason. He mentioned his immense fear of what he was doing. He even joked about his mother finding out about him leaving school and joining the marches.

In regards to the film he said,

“The film could never depict the hatred people had for each other.”

He also spoke about today’s society. That people need to educate themselves about the past, otherwise it will happen again. Sadly, it already has started to show up again. A current example would be the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Mr. Arthur is such an inspiration to so many people. It was an honor to have been in his presence and to be taught so much in such a small amount of time. His efforts, along with so many that followed Dr. King, helped so many and changed the world, as they once knew it.