Selma City Schools will focus on local history

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 28, 2004

Next year students in the Selma City School System will be learning much more about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s than what is found in their history textbooks.

Not only will there be a larger focus on the voting rights conflict here in Selma, students will be able to hear the stories straight from those who lived through it.

The city school system is collaborating with HistoryMakers production company for a film documentary about Selma’s role in establishing voting rights for blacks.

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The film will supplement a new curriculum being introduced into area schools this fall.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. James Carter said along with the documentary, classrooms will have history books customized specifically for Selma and the Black Belt region.

“The new books will focus on the Voting Rights Movement here and the impact it has had over the years,” Carter said.

HistoryMakers interviewed Selma leaders of the movement, and is working with the school system to translate the material into a

textbook, teachers guide, and a student work book.

Carter said the project is a strategy to get students to understand the history and contributions made by both blacks and whites during the Civil Rights Movement.

“I had a vision to expand on what we were doing in African-American history,” Carter said. “There is nothing on record about local participation in the movement.”

Some of those who were interviewed for the documentary include the Rev. F.D. Reese, Pauline Anderson (wife of the Rev. L.L. Anderson), and the Rev. Jean Jackson.

“This documentary will give boys and girls an opportunity to identify with people they know, and learn why we had the Civil Rights Movement,” Carter said. “Students learn by association.”

Carter said the curriculum will be used in fourth-, sixth-, and eighth-grades.

The books and documentary will be used in addition to the State Board of Education-approved history textbooks.

“Hopefully, they will

replace the history textbooks if they are approved by the state board,” Carter said.

City schools are not alone in this new localized venture. The school system is joined by Perry, Wilcox, and Lowndes counties in this project.