From Marches To Movies, The ‘Selma’ Story Today

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The new movie “Selma,” out this weekend. Its depiction, and your reaction, to civil rights on the march, from Selma to Montgomery.

The cast of the new film"Selma," based on the historic 1965 march in support of voting rights in Selma, AL. (Paramount Pictures)
The cast of the new film"Selma," based on the historic 1965 march in support of voting rights in Selma, AL. (Paramount Pictures)

Fifty years ago this spring, it was billy clubs and blood and high stakes politics – moral reckoning - in Selma, Alabama.  The heart of the civil rights movement.  A high-wire act between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lyndon Johnson.  Brutal repression.  Readiness to be clubbed for a cause.  High strategy in the streets.  The new movie "Selma" brings that story back, powerfully, into the midst of Ferguson and “I Can’t Breathe.”  At a time when we know, a half century on, this isn’t over.  This hour On Point:  we’re traveling back with Selma, the movie, and bringing it right up to date.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Wesley Morris, staff writer at Grantland. (@wesley_morris)

Mary Frances Berry, professor of American social thought and history and the University of Pennsylvania. Author of the new book, "We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family's Search for Home Across the Atlantic World," and many others. Former chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. (@DrMFBerry)

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. Author of the new book, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society." (@julianzelizer)

Dante Barry, director of the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice. (@DanteBarry)

From Tom’s Reading List

Grantland: The Dream Act: The Powerful, Profound ‘Selma’ -- "Movies have become very good at assembling armies. Good software and skilled technicians are often all you need. The ensuing chaos of battle tends to resemble a cartoon of war. What’s human grows indistinguishable from what’s not, and making a distinction between the two sides seems beside the point. Whether the battle is any fun becomes a more pressing concern than its outcome."

CNN: The real story behind 'Selma' -- "Sometimes ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact on American politics. The new movie 'Selma' recreates the grass-roots protests that resulted in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In this riveting film, audiences get to see how average citizens have been able to push politicians to take action that they don't have the courage to do on their own."

Washington Post: How LBJ’s ideas outlived the political coalitions that achieved them — "It’s amazing to recall how much was accomplished in the first two years of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. There was the bipartisan coalition that produced the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. There was Medicare and Medicaid, dramatic overhaul of American immigration policy, Head Start, Food Stamps, aid to education, and so much more."


Watch The Trailer For "Selma"

Read An Excerpt Of "The Fierce Urgency of Now" By Julian Zelizer

This program aired on January 12, 2015.


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