MLK Holiday & Selma

I wrote this post in 2011…

SelmaIf you haven’t seen Selma – go – take your children, their entire class any generation behind you. As I wrote in 2011 and Ava Duvernay learned through Selma – many younger viewers still don’t know the history of the civil rights movement or what MLK (the initials!) stood for. I don’t know what they’re learning in history any more!

Dr. King’s non-violence forced others to show their true selves. He asked them to treat people equally, lawfully and enforce the laws nationwide. Because he stood firm in his belief in non-violence and that which he believed, he made change. He created the first and some of the largest protest marches that have stood as an example of how others make change today for other movements – anti-war, Occupy, immigration, schools.

I consider myself well read and as a political science and history major decades ago-I thought well informed of American history. The Selma story went much deeper than any history book I ever read. I knew of the violence – but reading about it is different than seeing it. And the back room conversations with political leaders (whether you agree with the movie portrayal of LBJ or not) isn’t far off – otherwise why would it take so long for the voting rights act? The Johnson administration was FORCED to make voting rights a priority – they didn’t want to or have to until pushed.

When I was five years old living in Shaker Heights Ohio, I don’t remember any of this. But I remember reading about it – more in university than high school. I should have spent more time looking at newspaper microfiche than reading books – and I know better as a history major – primary source is always better.

Supposedly we study history so as not to repeat it – I am sorry to say this is not always true, but this should not stop us from remembering our past to improve our future and make better choices.


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