Article misses main story of “Selma” film

Published 9:09 pm Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dear editor,

I have read Cecil Williamson’s opinion piece about the movie “Selma.” This letter responds to his observations about the movie. William’s article focuses on the historical inaccuracies in the movie while ignoring the main storyline — the historic struggle for voting rights for all Americans and the peaceful means used by Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates to bring the vote to all American citizens.

As Mayor George Evans reminded Williamson, “Selma” is a movie and not a historical documentary.

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I noticed the ambiguity in the portrayal of the location of the Sixteenth Street bombing that claimed the lives of the children in Birmingham. The film also failed to make clear that the shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson by the state trooper occurred in Marion than in Selma.

The movie did not depict that Jackson’s death from the gunshot wound actually occurred several days after the shooting.

The film was also ambiguous as to timing of James Reeb’s death following his attack on a Selma street.

These ambiguities in location and timing of the deaths of Jackson and Reed did nothing to detract from the power of the central message of the movie. Williamson seems to believe that the ambiguity regarding the location of the bombing and the shooting of Jackson may have further damaged Selma’s image.

The 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march on March 7-8 will give Williamson and fellow Selmians, white and black, an opportunity to showcase to a worldwide audience the healing and enlightenment that has hopefully come to Selma since 1965.

I hope the political and civic leaders of Selma will take an active role in encouraging Selmians to participate. While I no longer live in Selma, I will participate.

In the interest of fairness to Williamson and on a completely different note, I remember the devotion Williamson showed to one of his parishioners when he voluntarily attended a civil court hearing in moral support of his church member in a city some 50 miles from Selma. I cannot recall a similar decision.

Charlie Morris