I saw Ana DuVarney’s film Selma last night. It is a powerful, wonderful depiction of an ugly era of American history and the heroes that fought against injustice. While Martin Luther King is central to the story, DuVarney includes a wide cast of characters that stretch from the historically famous to people with names long forgotten. She also shows King as an imperfect man who still deserves our deepest admiration. The violence depicted made me wince at points, but that is necessary to make us remember what injustice and cruelty African Americans suffered for generations – and still face too often. There is a great debate over Oscar snubs for the director and lead actor. I’ve seen several of the nominated films and agree with those who ask why this great film did not receive more recognition. Some critics charge that it is racism and point to Oscar evaluators who are predominantly white, old, and male. That may be true. But, as King showed us, good can often grow out of bad. Hopefully the controversy will motivated more people to see this film. I also hope that Selma will be shown in schools for generations to come. Ana DuVarney has given us history – complex and powerful.
Tomorrow is the day the nation honors Martin Luther King. It will be a great day to reflect on what has changed and what hasn’t