The movie Selma (2014, 127 min.) is set during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It describes the fight for a new federal law to enforce the voting rights of African Americans in the South. The planned nonviolent protest march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama in early March 1965 was stopped by police brutality on what has been called “bloody Sunday.” Selma is the first major feature film focusing on civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and shows his struggle with Lyndon B. Johnson to put the full political weight of the president behind what in August 1965 became the „Voting Rights Act.“ The negative depiction of Johnson as being quite hesitant in his support of the movement led to major criticism of the film. The movie was nominated for two Oscars and four Golden Globes in 2015. It won one of each, both in the category "Best Song".
The fight for voting rights, depicted so powerfully in Selma, is far from over. The Voting Rights Act enabled millions of African American citizens to finally register to vote and take part in elections. But key parts of the law were declared unconstitutional by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court in 2012. Ever since, dozens of laws have been passed by mostly Republican legislatures on the state level that in different ways make it harder to register and to vote.
Speaker: Dr. Andreas Etges, Amerika-Institut, LMU
09:00 Intro to film and civil rights movement
11:40 Coffee Break
12:15 Lecture on current controversies about voting rights
Organizer: Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations
Contact: Christine Waleczek
(Photo: Martin Luther King in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. ©Unsplash/HistoryinHD)