'Selma' Being Distributed to Every High School in America
As the struggle for Civil Rights continues to be ever pertinent in the tumultuous times in which we live, many have called into question the ways in which we are educating, or not educating, the future generations in the history of race relations in this country. Mega film studio Paramount has unexpectedly become an integral player in these efforts in a major way. The film company has issued a DVD copy of the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma to every single high school in the nation.
Selma was released last year to rave reviews and a fair amount of controversy. The film depicts the early days of the Civil Rights movement as Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in support of the recently passed Voting Rights Act, much to the chagrin of the state’s white, bigoted population. The film was near unanimously praised, but it received a little flack for its depiction of President Lyndon Johnson as more antagonistic towards Dr. King than he was in reality. However, the major firestorm arrived when the Academy Awards not only failed to nominate King’s portrayer David Oyelowo for Best Actor but also snubbed director Ava DuVernay for the award, missing an opportunity to make history with the first woman of color being honored as a candidate for Best Director.
In spite of all these things, or perhaps because of them, DuVernay revealed Paramount’s large-scale plan for the incorporation of Selma into American curriculum at a United Nations event late last week. Titled Selma for Students, the initiative will also offer comprehensive study guides to the Civil Rights movement that can be issued per school request. Introducing the film to high-school students across America not only will provide pertinent, empathetic understanding of our nation’s troubled history with race relations, but will also reinforce the importance of the privilege to vote, a right that Dr. King and thousands of his fellow Americans fought so hard to earn that many now take for granted.
We can’t imagine a better film to be included as part of this country’s education system, not to mention a film that will keep students engaged and excited about the role history still has to play in the world of today.