'Selma': an educational reminder

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By Marshanah Taylor


I recently went to go see the highly anticipated MLK movie, "Selma". I have to say, the cruelty Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers endured during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s was astonishing. The unforgettably dark images from the movie were horrifying to watch: a young black man beaten and shot in cold blood in front of his mother and grandfather by white police officers; white women, children, and men shouting in a frenzy as they cheered-on white police officers who were chasing down and senselessly bludgeoning peaceful African American protesters; two white clergyman beaten to death and dubbed as "nigger-lovers" because they had decided to take a stand against violence and inequality with Martin Luther King; and, of course, the event that started it all, the image of four little girls-who had their whole lives ahead of them-bombed in a church because of hate.

I remember jumping in my seat at the beginning of the movie when the church was blown up. I knew that it was going to happen and yet the attack still felt unexpected. I found myself hoping that maybe history could have turned out differently, only to be yanked back into the reality of what happened with the explosion. I was greatly disturbed by the graphic and brutal displays of violence I saw. But really, should I have been? I've never witnessed or been the subject of hate so potent, though it's true that prejudice, even today, still exists.

Seeing such hostility will always be shocking to me because I've grown up in a different environment, a different time. I have not lived that. I don't think I could have been strong enough to live through that. It's the protesters' bravery that I applaud, though they had no choice but to swallow their fears and have courage. Without that and the advocacy of black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, I would not have the rights I have today. I am extremely grateful of the struggle and the tragedy they faced in order to create change. They made the world a more open place for all African Americans and their sacrifices and losses are things that can never be repaid back, but it can be remembered. That's what I think the movie was made for: to educate people who don't know about what happened in Selma and to act as a reminder of how monstrous we as humans can be because of a misconception as well as the change.

Q: Do agree, Oak Park? What did you think of "Selma"?

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