Filmmaker to visit Selma

Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ArtsRevive, The Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society and Wallace Community College Selma are teaming up to bring filmmaker Jack Willis back to Selma to share his films “The Streets of Greenwood” and “Lay My Burden Down” with the public on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

In April, Willis had a tour where he made a stop in Selma to show his films, but the local organizations wanted bring him back and get more people interested in his work.

“They are absolutely astounding films,” said Martha Lockett, executive director of ArtsRevive. “It’s really something everybody should see. It’s really that good.”

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His film “Lay My Burden Down” is a documentary from 1966, a year after the passing of the Voting Rights Act, where Willis visited Dallas County, Lowndes County and Wilcox County to see how people were adjusting to the change.

“He came here to see if the 1965 voting rights march and the voting education had really made a difference in the lives of the folks here,” Lockett said. “When he came to Selma in 1966, he talked to whites and blacks, sharecroppers, land owners about what difference the Voting Rights Legislation might have made. They’re first person, immediate responses. They’re just stunning.”

Through a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the three groups were able to pull together to make this even possible.

“It’s something that I think everybody needs to see,” said Nancy Bennett, member of ArtsRevive and the Historical Society. “I just think that we are very lucky that he is coming back again, and I hope that we can have a packed house.”

Dr. Tara White, a history instructor at Wallace, said she is excited to have the opportunity to share the films with her students.

“[This film] places the Civil Rights Movement in a broader context, that it wasn’t just about water fountains and where you sat on the bus, it was about affecting the ordinary, everyday lives of real people,” White said. “And that’s one of the things I want them to take away from this.”

The viewing will take place at the Earl Goodwin Theater at Wallace Community College Selma on Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

A question and answer session will follow the screenings.