Blog #144 – Selma
I hope that you enjoyed the chance to see Selma, a moving drama about the events leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the piece of legislation seen as the culmination of the Civil Right Movement (CRM) in the 1960s.
This particular article is written by an historian who thinks the movie is flawed b/c it omits a key scene or the reason behind why King turned back at the Edmund Pettis Bridge days after Bloody Sunday (when the original marchers were attacked and broadcast on TV). http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/02/dr-king-goes-to-hollywood-the-flawed-history-of-selma.html
Answer the following question:
1. I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.
Pick from TWO of the following:
2. The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero. In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it had affected their lives. Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King marriage.
3. The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover director are shown as creepy, invasive, and abusive. They wiretapped the members of the CRM, they manufactured evidence to show King’s infidelity, and tried to prove that Malcolm X and King were communists. What are your thoughts on the abuses of power by the FBI and Hoover?
4. Some historians, particularly those who have worked with President Johnson, have criticized the movie for not showing a more sympathetic Johnson (who was shown wanting to work more on his Great Society – War on Poverty and the Vietnam War which went barely mentioned). Anti-racist activists have criticized a sympathetic Johnson as taking away accolades from King, a black man, and giving more credit to the President, a white man, for a pivotal piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Act. Which portrayal do you think should have been shown? Why?
5. Draw some comparisons to Hidden Figures and Selma. They can be favorable or unfavorable to either or both. Explain your reasoning for the comparisons (minimum of 2).
I agree with the historian in the article. The movie did omit central reasoning behind why King turned around and left viewers confused. He also did not reveal that Johnson’s emissary claimed they could march halfway and return to be spared a second attack by his followers. The film was also meant to portray the entire truth, but omitting vital details was flawed. Although the movie had flaws, it was highly educational and had many strengths in how King was portrayed. When it comes to whether it was a flawed movie, I would have to say that it is not because the strengths of the film outweigh the weaknesses.
Historians who have worked with President Johnson have criticized the movie for not showing a more sympathetic Johnson, and anti-racist activists have criticized a sympathetic Johnson as taking away credit from King and giving more credit to the President for the Voting Rights Act. I believe a sympathetic johnson would not have fully exemplified the time period and what happened. However, LBJ did do exemplary work with his Great Society and slightly in the Civil Rights Movement. The primary cause of the change was after rigorous protest, bloodshed, and continuous trying before it was even a possibility. Because of the civil rights activists, the voting act was created not because of Johnson. It took extreme action and time before LBJ even made the Voting Rights Act a priority. Although he did create change, overall, showing a sympathetic representation instead of a non-sympathetic would take away the credit from King, among other activists.
The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero, and one way is by showing his imperfect marriage. The FBI bugged him and found out he cheated on his wife, Corretta. The exposure of his infidelity impacted the life that the movie tried to portray. I believe that the film established a better portrayal than other ways of his marriage but is still not one hundred percent accurate. It did show how Corretta found out about his cheating and how he claimed he still loved her, but it barely touched on it besides that. Although this was more accurate, it still included plot holes such as what happened after, did they stay together, and did it happen again? These are questions left unanswered in the movie that many people may have to further research. Overall I believe the film did an okay portrayal of his marriage with strengths and weaknesses.
I agree with the historian. The movie itself was amazing as is, but could have portrayed so much more and told so many more stories to add to it. The director left out so many great scenes that would’ve added to the story to give the viewers a better understanding of the Civil Rights Movement, the good, the bad and the ugly parts of it. And the scenes that were added and filmed may not have been told well or as well as they could have been. I do think that this makes the film flawed a bit because it’s not up to its full potential. It doesn’t give up the whole story, the behind the scenes. We see the Civil Rights Movement happening, but don’t get to see much of why it’s happening. The director also only partly showed us a more human MLK, when that’s what the whole purpose of the film was about, so I feel that we should’ve gotten to see more. Therefore, I do think it’s a flawed film.
I think that the second portrayal of LBJ should have been shown, or the one that criticized him as a sympathetic man taking away accolades from King and giving more credit to the President, a white man, for a pivotal piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Act. The director made the film to focus on the construction of the Voting Rights Act and what led up to it, and to portray King in a different light. The film isn’t about Johnson, therefore there isn’t really a need to go into full detail about his presidency and what he wanted to do. But instead to focus more on what he did do, which was dismiss King on numerous instances, and then later change his views and pass the bill.
One comparison to Hidden Figures and Selma is that Hidden Figures focuses both on Women’s Rights and Civil Rights, showing how the characters were affected by it and how they overcame the obstacles they faced. While Selma only focused on Civil Rights showing some of the discrimination they faced and a lot of how they protested to change it. This comparison shows how Hidden Figures showed the discrimination in both gender and race, and how they overcame it, but Selma only focused on how getting the Civil Rights Act passed, not much of why it needed to be. Another comparison to both the films kind of connects to the first in that Hidden Figures shows a lot of the discrimination the characters faced, such as the seperated bathrooms, the coffee pot, in education, etc, but in Selma, we only really go to see a few instances of it, like the denial of their right to vote in the beginning. Showing how they were being treated differently gives us an insight to their rage and more of an understanding as to why they wanted things changed so badly, which is why I drew this comparison.
1. I agree with the author of the article that the movie, like all movies that are based on true stories, is flawed. It is close to impossible to make an entirely accurate movie about real-life events and people. Yes, the movie left things out and could have expanded more on certain people and events (e.g. Amelia Boynton, Turn Back Tuesday). Still, Selma is not supposed to be an all-encompassing look at this part of the Civil Rights Movement, but an overview meant to educate people about the basic facts of this time period in history.
2. I believe that this portrayal of the Kings’ marriage was an accurate and important addition to the film. Too often, biopics lionize their protagonists and make them seem perfect and untouchable, when in fact, nobody is. The inclusion of King’s flawed marriage helps to humanize him and makes the film more true to life overall.
3. J. Edgar Hoover was corrupt, abused his power, violated rules and laws, and routinely blackmailed people he didn’t like. He carried out illegal operations like COINTELPRO. He was not a good person and the FBI was a corrupt organization under his leadership.
1. I do believe that some sections and political areas are portrayed in real life. But they also took a different approach to a historical figure that many people and companies do not do. They have exposed the historical side of these figures that many wouldn’t try to see. Since many people sugar coat the historical figures they look. But also Hollywood does overdramatic many things in their movies they make. This is so they can hook the audience. So they did this with the historical event Selma and the historical figures we know in the movie.
2. They were trying to portray Martin Luther King Jr. and his marriage as how it was historically. Since many historians as I said before like to sugar coat historians. Many do not want to expose these famous people that many people look up too. But there is proof that today the Martin may have cheated on his wife. So when Hollywood wrote the script for the movie Selma they clearly wanted to feature that because they had the phone call of an audio recording. Which Martin then denies that being him. So Holly wood was trying to show this in the movie because we saw more of Martins personal life than his events he contributed to or lead during the Civil Rights Movement of 1960’s.
4. I think a bit of both should be shown in the movie. Since many things that president were good. But the showing was good. Since many presidents including Johnson did not want to have the civil rights act because he was worried about what many people in America would think. So the fact he was hesitant and didn’t want to let them have their way but then realized later that he needs to give them their rights. Sure he did many things great for the country like the Great Society. The movie was focused on what Selma and the historical purpose of Selma. Not President Johnson’s presidency. If it was then we should mention all the good things he did and potray him as an amazing person.
1. I agree with the historian in terms of the movie being flawed. The movie was entertaining and educational, but could have had more backstory as to why the Act had to be passed. The directors left out many great aspects that would reinforce the need to get the Act passed when they wanted it to. They also only focused on Selma and the one bridge protest, and we never really saw more of MLK as a person.
4. I think the portrayal of LBJ in the movie was justified because although there is an anti racist side to LBJ, the movie really had no need to focus on LBJ’s campaigns when the movie was about MLK getting the Act passed. There isn’t a need to focus more on a side character in the movie. They instead focused more on MLK, and how LBJ constantly dismissed him with excuses such as “i can’t do that right now” although MLK demonstrated the struggle he was going through with protests and action.
5. some comparisons to Hidden Figures and Selma are that unlike Selma, Hidden Figures focuses more on women’s rights and the obstacles the three women had to overcome at their work. Selma focused more on the discrimination black people faced and their need to pass the Civil Rights Act and how a lot protested to change the law. Hidden Figures shows discrimination by the coffee pot, the separate bathrooms, operation of equipment etc. and in Selma, we only really see small examples such as their denial of the right to vote in the beginning and their small meeting where they listed different examples of things wrong with the law and what they should change first.
I definitely agree with the historian that the movie is flawed because they left out that fact. A crucial scene of the movie was King leading his march back across the bridge. This being left out just makes King seem like he was too scared to continue the march even though the path was clear. I think that the deal was a big thing because it shows how King and Johnson reached an agreement where King can still have a protest but Johnson can keep control.
I think that the movie’s portrayal of King’s marriage is a good thing because it shows that he was a human and how this affected him. Lots of people see King as this mighty untouchable figure when in reality he had other issues to do as well. It also shows some of his bad traits, such as cheating on his wife. I think that although this could have really harmed his reputation during his time, I think now it is fine to share it and it doesn’t take away from the great things that he did.
I think that the abuses of power by the FBI and Hoover were terrible. The FBI shouldn’t be allowed to try and interfere with public opinion and ruin the reputation of public figures. I think that the FBI should have limitations on its power. While I do think that it is fine that the FBI kept tabs on them, given the size of the movement, I do not think that they should be allowed to publish information about them that they find, especially since they weren’t doing anything wrong.
1. I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.
I agree with the historian on some parts of what Gary May was stating. On some level lots of the events that he was describing were either altered in the movie or taken out completely. After reading the article I can agree that because some things were left out, King is seen differently then he actually was at the time. On the other hand, I thought this movie was very enlightening while also being entertaining. King was portrayed from a viewpoint that I had never seen, nor thought of, before. It is a very real and raw version of the man and I think that made the movie something really special. I don’t fully agree with the historian because of that. I believe that because the film was able to show the more personal side of Martin Luther King Jr., it had more depth than other films that include him. I agree that some pieces of history were left out or altered but I don’t necessarily think that that made the movie flawed.
2. The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero. In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it had affected their lives. Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King’s marriage.
The way Martin Luther King Jr. was portrayed in the film Selma, humanized him in a way that I’ve never seen before. The details of his marriage, from the very first scene of the movie, to the scene with the phone message, King’s marriage took many downs and not a lot of ups. Because he was needed at different places all around the country, he wasn’t home much and that took a toll on his Relationship with Coretta. My favorite scene that involves his marriage is when Coretta and him are listening to the phone call of the people trying to expose him for cheating on his wife. I liked that King told her without hesitation that he loved her but took a second to reply when she asked if he loved any of the other women. I think this was really important because it gave so much of an inside look at King and his wife’s dynamic. One thing that they didn’t really show was his relationship with his kids, but I like that it just focused on his marriage because it adds a whole other layer to the story.
3. Some historians, particularly those who have worked with President Johnson, have criticized the movie for not showing a more sympathetic Johnson (who was shown wanting to work more on his Great Society – War on Poverty and the Vietnam War which went barely mentioned). Anti-racist activists have criticized a sympathetic Johnson as taking away accolades from King, a black man, and giving more credit to the President, a white man, for a pivotal piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Act. Which portrayal do you think should have been shown? Why?
I think that for the message that the movie was trying to send, the LBJ that was portrayed was perfect. It showed that he was pushing off the voting rights act until it was the right political time for him to make that kind of move. It felt like the moving was showing the struggle that civil rights activists had and including Johnson in that struggle makes sense. For King and his group to be dealing with a monstrous amount of difficulties and having the president be one of them adds to the story. In the film, King spoke with Johnson on numerous occasions. I think that in order for the film to portray King as someone who was able to overcome massive obstacles, LBJ needed to be more harsh and given less credit.
1. I agree with the historian to an extent. I feel as if the movie still discredits the black community for the passage of the Voting Rights Act and Civil rights act. But, at the same time, white people still made significant contributions to the civil rights movement. In the end, the civil rights movement happened because black people needed a change. If activists didn’t press legislation about the prejudice they faced in the society in which they lived, there wouldn’t be any reform. There would be nothing to change, if one didn’t recognize the racism and how the society wasnt beneficial. A society in which everyone is not equal will ultimately fail. I agree with the historian based on the portrayal of white men as heroes, but white people still made sufficient contributions to the movement.
4. I feel as if the movie did a great job balancing both the Johnson Administration and Martin Luther King Jr. and their contributions. What I feel is missing from the film is that they didn’t put in place that Johnson was still focusing on important issues. I feel as if this would not discredit King, as King still made his outstanding contributions to the civil rights movement. I feel as if LBJ was ultimately seen as a villain, but in reality, he just made weak legislation. I can see where the film would be coming from when he created a weak southern civil rights bill and only focused on Vietnam and his Great Society. Even though Lynden B. Johnson didn’t do, much for African Americans, he still wasnt terrible.
5. Hidden Figures and Selma both appeal to similar themes and have similar ideas. One thing that both films present are racial prejudice. We see that in Hidden Figures microaggressions and doubt were thrown at the three women working for NASA. Even though these women made great contributions to the space race. These themes are seen more upfront in Selma when peaceful protesters are killed by white policemen. The racial prejudice theme was the same idea, they are just portrayed differently. The idea of the black historical figure being seen as the protagonist is also popular in both movies. As Martin Luther King JR. and the three women are black and are the protagonists of the story. As we can see, both stories have similar themes and ideas, which make them have the ability to cross apply to one another.
I agree with the historian regarding showing the bravery of the people of Selma. I think that the movie consistently focused on the actions revolving around King, but it could have changed perspectives to show more individual action. Individual bravery and actions from people who were likely more at risk than King should have been shown, especially when the director said it was one of their goals. However, I do think the movie did show a good and humanized version of Martin Luther King and made him more realistic, compared to other films where he is idolized without thought. It also gave a well-rounded picture of other things going on in the same time period, such as the assassination of Malcolm X and the highways. Overall, the movie does have its faults, but it is considerably better than other films trying to present the same thing.///
The portrayal of King’s marriage is a good change in perspective from similar films and media. Often, the king is idolized for only his strengths and often shown from a distance. The media shows him as a figure of his history but doesn’t dive deep into his like this movie does (and the FBI). However, even when shown this movie people still keep their positive opinion of King. This is because human flaws in others are often overlooked if they are important figures in the community. We can see this in other figures like Elijah Muhammed and even in most celebrities who committed crimes. This accurate show of King and his marriage is important because it gives both sides of the coin for the audience to see, instead of him being presented as an all-good figure. Not only does it help humanize King, but it also shows how deeply rooted the FBI was in King’s personal life and how it affected him.///
The abuse of power by the FBI and Hoover shows how hypocritical the United States government is towards people of color, specifically, black people. The United States government preaches itself for freedom and liberty and rights, but when it actually comes down to it, the system sets up failure for those things for black people. The FBI used everything in its power to destroy the civil rights movement from the inside out. The surveillance of the black leaders of the civil rights movement was extreme, every action, phone call, and the message they sent was tracked and recorded (and possibly used against them). This was the downfall of Malcolm X, and they were trying to do the same thing as MLK. Despite their supposed patriotism, the FBI puts all of its budget against its own people who are struggling for survival. It’s important that the movie showed this depiction because it’s relevant today to not overlook the critical flaws of the United States government, and how in many instances they were against the progress that has been made. ///
1. I agree with this article because I feel as though the movie didn’t really show all of the background details that it could have. We didn’t learn much about many of the characters’ lives nor did we learn a lot of the background information about the marches themselves. The article stated that the movie failed to show why King and his followers turned around halfway across the bridge. We learn that he was actually in an agreement with Wallace and Clark that allowed them to march part of the way across the bridge and kneel in prayer. If they went back to their church they would be spared a second attack. King obeyed but didn’t tell anyone the real reason he went back. The movie did not give us this crucial information that could have explained the events of that time better.
3. I think that the FBI and Hoover used too much of their power to do wrong. They should not have been allowed to secretly bug MLK’s house, friends, and family to try and put him out of power. That seems more of a violation. The FBI should only be doing that to suspects of a crime case or people who are deemed harmful. MLK was just trying to get rights for his people and wasn’t trying to cause anyone harm. I feel as though this was not a good exercise of the FBI’s power.
4. I think that the portrayal of LBJ in the movie was the right way to portray him. Without LBJ’s passiveness for the civil rights movement there would have been no marches and the American people would never have seen the brutal acts that are carried out against African Americans. I think that it was good that he was portrayed as only trying to focus on his great society programs because it would make people want to side with the civil rights movement more and show how LBJ was in the wrong. If LBJ was shown as sympathetic, there would have been less of a motivation from the civil rights movement to get the voting rights bill passed.
After reading the article, I agree with the historian. The movie had a lot of potential to portray much more and could have added many more stories to go along with it. There were many scenes the director did not include and could have added, even the bad ones, that would have given the audience a much more clear understanding of civil rights. The movie doesn’t give the whole story, one bit and pieces of it. I also think that some of the scenes that were filmed just didn’t make that much sense. The movie does not give us enough and I believe it could be much better, so, in saying that, I believe the movie is flawed.
I believe that the portrayal that should have been shown was the second portrayal of LBJ or the one who found fault with him as a sympathetic person who took away honor from MLK and gave more recognition to the president The film is not about Johnson so I don’t believe that it needed to go into as much detail as it did about his presidency and what his goals were, but I think it should have shown how he declined King on a few different instances and then eventually change his views and pass the bill. The director of this film created it to focus on the building of the Voting Rights Act and what had led up to it and to show MLK from a different perspective so I don’t think it was executed properly because of this.
One comparison between Hidden Figures to Selma is that Hidden Figures shows the impact of Women’s Rights and Civil Rights and they showed how the three women overcame these obstacles, while Selma only focuses on Civil Rights and the struggles people had/still go through. Although these are both similar representations, they are still very different. Hidden Figures shows discrimination in gender and race and Selma mainly shows the process of getting the Civil Rights Act passed rather than explaining why it needed to be there just how Hidden Figures did. Hidden Figures also goes more into depth about the discrimination they face and truly showed the “behind the scenes” Both movies show discrimination and they have their similarities and differences.
1. While other people may agree with the historian, I personally do not, and I believe that the movie is not flawed but instead shows the reality behind the scenes of MLK. I also don’t think this movie was supposed to be a documentary-type film but instead a story that reveals the historic events in bits and pieces. Of course, the director of this film wasn’t able to add every single detail to the film but parts that were important to the storyline were included for example “Turnaround Tuesday” this event unfolded confusion in the people which was really shown throughout the movie. This was the purpose of the film, to show what actually happened in Selma.
2. I think the portrayal of the King’s marriage was very well included in the film. I wouldn’t think a lot of people would know too much about the marriage – or at least I don’t – so I enjoyed how it was added. I also believe it added a lot of effect to the movie and created background information on what was happening. I liked how it gave an inside view of what happened in MLK’s private home life.
5. One similarity that I found interesting between the two movies (Hidden Figures and Selma) was that they were both stories from a black person’s point of view. Usually, we would get a perspective from a white point of view with the main character that’s white and the best of everyone but both of these movies turned away from that stereotype and exemplified black roles in American history. One comparison that I found really interesting between the two films was the amount of historical accuracy these films portrayed. After researching I found out that while Selma is deemed 100% accurate, Hidden Figures is around 74% accurate. While not all movies (that aren’t documentaries) can accurately show the true history of the event while also making it an enjoyable movie, Selma did that. I think for Hidden Figures they had to add some things that were not entirely accurate because they needed something that would hook the viewer which is ok in my opinion but they succeeded because they got what they could out about the topic while making it entertaining.
While I do agree with the article that leaving out any scenes that explained the confusion on Turn Around Tuesday, I don’t think that this mistake makes the movie completely flawed. As the article points out this movie did a lot of good along with its missteps. For instance the movie is able to effectively show a more human side of Dr. King, a side of him that is mostly lost in his public image. This movie is also able to overcome the resistance against a civil rights movie in Hollywood. The movie had some mistakes, like not exploring the majority of Selma’s citizens protests, and the obstacles stopping president LBJ from taking action tok help. But that doesn’t make the movie completely flawed because it was still able to do a lot of good.
4. I think that the movie should have shown both angles of LBJ. The movie could have shown his more sympathetic side, and his efforts towards Vietnam and the great society. At the same time they could have displayed his actions that took accolades away from King and gave them to himself. If the movie were to show the actions of LBJ and try to have as little bias as possible the viewer could then see all of LBJs personality just as the movie did for King. Just as with King, putting all sides of him in the movie would have displayed his whole personality and then the viewer could think about what type of person they really thought Johnson was like.
5. Both Hidden Figures and Selma are amazing movies and they both had their effects on their viewers, but there were not all that similar. For example Selma was a fully focused civil rights movie, as the article points one the movie makes no mention of the great society or even the vietnam war. While Hidden Figures had a more broad point of view, the movie was able to cover topics such as the cold war/space race, women’s rights in America, civil rights, and even advancing technology. This doesn’t make Selma a lesser movie but they did have vastly different points of views. Another difference is also discussed in the article, Selma was able to take the viewer into King’s inner circle more effectively than any other medium, as well as showing more of King’s personal life as a result of his public image. Hidden Figures does not avoid the main characters’ personal lives, on the contrary, the movie spends a lot of time with their respective families. But the main idea of Hidden Figures is the bigger picture and it isn’t made as an insight into Katherines, Dorothy’s, or Mary Jane’s lives.
1. Yes I agree with the historian, this makes the movie flawed because the movie doesn’t show all of what happened. The movie only shows what the director wants you to see and the movie excludes scenes that would make a person better understand what happened trying to get a person to view the movie and what happened in a certain way. In this way because some of what happened was excluded the movie is flawed.
2. I think it was a good idea for the movie to show the troubles in King’s marriage, it makes you see more into their lives and the the actions behind some of what they do. Also seeing the issues with the marriage makes King seem more like a man than a outright hero that is seen as more than he is. Also showing the marriage that way shows more truth and makes King seem more like a regular man. In these ways I feel that it was a good idea to include the King marriage in the film.
3. I do not think that what the FBI and Hoover did was right. It’s not okay to listen in on people’s private conversations and try to use them against them. Also it’s really immoral and a heavy abuse if power that shouldn’t have happened. It makes a person think that a person is putting their trust in the wrong hands if they use their power that way then it brakes a person’s trust and should never happen using a person’s private conversations that are completely innocent against them also manipulating and manufacturing information to make a person look a certain way should never happen. In this way I believe what Hoover and the FBI did was wrong.
I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.
I agree with the historian because I find that a lot of the films I have watched on my own are not the same as the facts I have heard about or learned about in class. I think that this movie did a great job of not making the movie flawed, and making it more accurate because up to this point I have not heard of King having any problems regarding marriage. I think this added a human element to him not making him seem so perfect but rather a normal person. This made the film more enjoyable to watch because it allowed us to connect with King and relate to the struggles of a human being.
The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero. In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it affected their lives. Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King’s marriage.
With the unperfect life of King being brought to life, it makes him seem less of an almighty but more of a human doing good. It doesn’t degrade him of his historic actions but it does remove this fairy tale we have all been told about how perfect he was. This allows us to connect more to him as a historic figure and human being. I think the portrayal of King’s marriage played a massive role in how he was viewed throughout the film, I think the source of all of his problems regarding the movement had a tie back to home because his wife was always concerned with what could happen to him.
Some historians, particularly those who have worked with President Johnson, have criticized the movie for not showing a more sympathetic Johnson (who was shown wanting to work more on his Great Society – War on Poverty and the Vietnam War which went barely mentioned). Anti-racist activists have criticized a sympathetic Johnson as taking away accolades from King, a black man, and giving more credit to the President, a white man, for a pivotal piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Act. Which portrayal do you think should have been shown? Why?
I think the most accurate portrayal should have been shown. I think it’s 100% appropriate to show an unsympathetic Johnson if that’s who he was or to show a less sympathetic one if that’s the case. I believe that in a film, such as this, it is crucial to show the most accurate interpretation of historical figures such as they did Dr.King by bringing us into his unperfect life and marriage. This way we can form the most accurate opinions of historic people.
1. After reading this article, I’ve decided that I agree with the historian that this film is very flawed. Many important pieces of history and facts were left out, and to add on to that, some details were even changed. For example, many of events going on behind the scenes were simply left out. One of Dr. King’s lowest points as a leader, when he failed to inform his followers that if they returned to their church they would be spared a second attack, never even made it into the movie. Annie Lee Cooper’s story is wrongly told as well. In real life, since she couldn’t register to vote, she lost her nursing job. In Selma, she is seen after being denied the right to register in a nurses outfit caring for patients. The film should have told history, not tried to change it for entertainment and cinematic purposes. It is more important to tell history in the correct manner than to be worried about reviews and Hollywood ratings.
2. The relationship between Coretta and Martin in this film is portrayed in a way that I have never seen or heard of before. It is clear that Martin and Coretta do love eachother very much, but it is also clear that with that love comes certain complications. It is made known that Dr. King had affairs with other women while still being in love with his wife. He was in deeply love with his wife, but couldn’t admit that he didn’t have feelings for other women also. I think it is good that the film shows the truth about what was really going on in Martin’s life and relationship, because not many people are aware.
3. My thoughts on the abuses of power from the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover are that they were discriminatory and unfair. They abused their power and knew that the public would believe them because they are white men, and their word would mean more than a group of black men. They were corrupt men and they wanted the world to believe that Dr. King and Malcolm X were communists because they didn’t want African Americans to have equal rights.
1. Learning of additional motivation and reasoning for Martin Luther King Jr. turning around does dramatically change the impact of the Turn Around Tueday scene. The setup was, indeed, a trap as some of the members on Martin Luther King Jr.’s council had thought. It shows the illusion of free choice presented by the white police officers to King. Either mass disappointment or mass shootings were to come. However, King did choose to divert from his usual method of broadcasting anti-black police brutality to the country to spark change. Despite being a pacifist, most of his methods involved violence–or rather, relying on resistance of it. He chose to not adhere to this philosophy in favor of the safety of the people. Knowing this does make the movie flawed, as all films are, but it’s significantly less so than those films that are directed to fuel a white audience of their white savior complex.
2. It is important to acknowledge, demystify, and correct the misconceptions surrounding significant figures in most mainstream media. To not idolize or villify them and their legacy results an unbiased and honest truth for current and future generations to access. Ava DuVernay’s choice to portray King’s imperfect marriage–and character–not only adds layers to a figure we perceive as an abstract character in our cognitive concept of “history”, but also reminds viewers that King was not as perfect as many sources preached. These sources very well may be sourced from the same white liberal Americans that omit King’s criticisms of police brutality in favor of his peacekeeper image. These sources very well may be sourced from those who criticized the Black Panthers and Malcolm X and wanted to keep them out of the public eye. History isn’t fair or inherently dishonest, and it’s up to historians and those making reproductions of history to display such.
4. The grand majority of the Civil Rights movement efforts were made by African-American activists. While Lyndon B. Johnson did get the wheels for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 turning in federal Congress, he would not have been pushed to do so were it not for the consistent efforts of the Civil Rights activism community. Lyndon did not prioritize the Civil Rights movement like many presidents before him, instead choosing to focus on foreign policies more (which, although America is no longer isolationist at this point, is still technically traditionally unconstitutional). The many presidents before him did little to nothing to improve and protect black life in America. Remaining stagnant is just as bad as taking the offense, because it shows how little you truly care about the subject. Thus, I would think giving LBJ more pats on the back instead of King is an unfavorable portrayal.
I don’t think the film Selma is flawed. The historian brings up that those who worked alongside MLK were often overlooked and that Selma is an example of a biopic. Well, I think even though people like Annie Lee Cooper and Amelia only got a brief screen time, they got screen time. It’s better than nothing. Also, the historian said something about how other stories could have been included in the movie while still meeting her $20 million worth of budget. Well, like any other Hollywood movies that showcase something about history, it’s probably difficult to maintain historical accuracy due to the difficulty in getting actors or building sets needed for the film. Like the historian said, the person that originally planned to film couldn’t because they were unable to raise the money needed. Although I agree with the historian about how younger generations of students are learning history through watching movies so it is important to be as historically accurate as possible. I agree with this because it can affect one’s perception of what history was like.
I think the portrayal of King’s marriage just shows the reality of himself other than his well-known self for fighting for civil rights by means of peaceful protest. Also, this kind of shows DuVernay’s goal of “‘deconstruct’ King, to show that he was more than ‘a speech and a statue,’ a flawed, complex man who did extraordinary things.”
I think a difference between Hidden Figures and Selma is that Selma covers the big-picture of the Civil Rights Movement with big historical figure like MLK and significant events like the Selma to Montgomery march. With Hidden Figures, it shows what the average citizen would face living in a segregated society. Also, Hidden Figures both covered the problems of racism and gender inequality.
The historian believes that the film is flawed because of the lack of new faces. There were many other people contributing a lot and not getting anywhere as near as the recognition King gets. The historian argues that the film should’ve included those unheard voices instead of just focusing on Martin. The historian also mentions how some key details were left out like the deal that lead to “Turn around Tuesday”, and also that the film encourages people to admire King even more. I personally do agree that films today should focus on those hidden figures who don’t get the same recognition. I also think if they were going to include something in the film, they should include everything not leave bits and pieces out. This does contribute to the flaws of the movie but many similar movies also have flaws.
2. I like how the movie uncovers hidden facts that might not be common knowledge to some people. I think it did a good job showing all the sacrifices and pressures put on Coretta, being the wife of a high target activist. Some people may look at King’s infidelity and think that it affects his legacy and I personally agree. Although infidelity isn’t directly related to what he’s pushing for, it shows his character and who he is as a person. How can people trust a person to lead them and fight for their rights when they’re lying behind closed doors. I also think it humanizes Dr.King, many people hold him on this pedestal and expect him to be perfect but the infidelity shows people that he is still a human being, and the film does a good job showing this.
5. One comparison between Hidden Figures and Selma would be the portrayal of women. In Hidden Figures, the whole film is surrounded by these 3 African-American women making history. In Selma, you don’t really see women activists as you do in Hidden Figures. Selma focuses mainly on the men leading the protest like Dr. King and John Lewis. Another comparison I noticed is the response from the white people when experiencing change. Although both films take place around the same time, the pushback each group experiences is vastly different. In Hidden Figures, I expected there to be more outright racism, I feel like everything was very passive. Compared to Selma, there was retaliation, beating and really graphic images.
I agree with the historian who says that the director’s biggest failure was not showing us but rather all the work Selma worked on. We also aren’t shown why the Civil Rights movement in Selma is only highlighted. The director missed a lot of details such as important key people in the story, they highlighted these people in minor ways. There were big errors in the movie, you can’t make a movie about the events of Selma and leave out “Bloody Sunday”. Which was when Seventeen people were hospitalized and dozens more injured by police. Clouds of tear gas fill the air as state troopers break up the march in Selma, Ala., March 7, 1965.
The film does not attempt to portray King as a hero. In fact, it depicts his strained marriage with Coretta, as well as his betrayal and how it affected their lives. Coretta was a very loyal wife; she made sacrifices and remained with King regardless of the risk to herself and her children. She admits that she is aware that her husband has multiple lovers, but she remains by his side for the sake of the movement. She does this for the Civil Rights Act, so he may concentrate solely on that; she is a wonderful wife. However, King neglects his duties as a good husband and father.
The FBI’s and Hoover’s abuse of power is completely unacceptable. They claimed to be so down with King’s actions towards Civil Rights but when it was in their way and wasn’t on their time frame, which was always later. King believed that if the president wanted African Americans to stop, he could have signed the papers allowing Black people to have a political voice for the first time. The FBI monitored and disrupted the campaign on a national scale while employing targeted smear tactics locally to undermine march support. The Black Panther Party was another targeted organization, with the FBI working together to destroy the party from within.
1. I agree with the historian that the movie is flawed. While watching the film, I was confused when MLK turned around and walked the other way at the bridge march. From what I remember, people later said that he had a calling from God to turn around and leave, as that would make it better. Turning around could be seen as a message from god, but it seemed like a skip in the timeline of Selma. Now that I actually know why MLK turned around, and that he came to an agreement with the governor to prevent bloodshed, it makes more sense to the overall story, and I can also make sense of why they didn’t show it. Accepting a deal with George Wallace, who was against all of MLK’s views, put him down as a leader, and the article mentioned how this was one of his lowest points as a leader. The filmmakers likely wanted to keep the hero image of him, and changed the story slightly.
5. One obvious comparison between Hidden Figures and Selma was that the people in question had less opportunity than others because of the color of their skin, and had to work to gain respect. In Hidden Figures they weren’t allowed to work with their white coworkers, until they proved that they could do the jobs as good or sometimes even better than them. In Selma, they fought for civil rights, and did not stop until they were gained. Another comparison between the two was that the main characters, Katherine and MLK, both balanced their work with their families, and made time for both.
2. I do not like how they didn’t show Dr. King as a hero, because he was a hero. The entire movie was based on the fight for civil rights, and he was the forefront of the entire operation, the person who was brave enough to step up for what he believed in. I think that specifically pointing out his flaws in a setting like this is only used to put him down, and make him seem like a lesser person.
1. I agree with the article- I’m no expert in this time period like the author is, but I’m sure the film made its fair share of mistakes. However, I do feel like the author’s expectations were too high. A movie can only do and cover so much in its runtime, and it sounds like “Selma” did a better-than-average job at the very least. Could it have made room for more screen time for other characters? That’s debatable. But could it have portrayed certain events with different attitudes? That does seem reasonable.
2. I like this portrayal of King. It doesn’t paint him as a monster or anything, just a normal, flawed human capable of mistakes. I think this is an especially important message given the saintly portrait people paint of him today. He is likely the most prominent civil rights figure at least in my education, and perhaps one of the most commonly discussed people in the whole of my education. His nonviolent movement is often hailed as a perfect example of Democracy, and he himself is portrayed as being uncontested in his goodness. But this movie shows him as a normal person; not bad, just normal. Of course his infidelity is wrong, but we see that Coretta didn’t hate him for it; she didn’t even remarry after his death. This complexity is important to show in such a widely discussed figure.
3. One similarity between the two movies is in, of course, their characters’ struggles with racial discrimination. In Hidden Figures this is outright segregation, whereas in Selma this is mostly in police brutality and voting restrictions. But nevertheless, each and every black character is faced with these unjust challenges. Another similarity is in how either film portrays different characters’ methods of fighting back. King was famous for his nonviolent approach, and Selma goes the extra mile to show the thought behind his the strategy within his movement. As I believe I discussed in the last blog, all the women in Hidden Figures have different approaches to discrimination. Fighting back directly and verbally, legally, or by proving their merit through leadership or intellect are all valid and personal approaches. It’s very interesting to observe how this is so situational, and definitely not one size fits all.
1. I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.
I agree with the historian that the movie “Selma” is flawed. Throughout the film, we are reminded of the tense moments between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. and the idea that Johnson and King were at odds over the issue of voting rights. Some have argued that Johnson supported King’s wish for voting rights and the march in Selma. Like any big-screen Hollywood historical drama, we often see an actual piece of history altered to gain attention and viewers. The problem with embellishing parts of history is that you miss out on the details that truly tell the story from the past. To create a storyline that would attract an audience, you miss out on the opportunity to share actual events from that time. In comparison, I watched Freedom Summer for extra credit. Listening to those who fought for both civil and voting rights that summer, I learned about what happened during that time instead of a version that had parts of fiction.
2. The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero. In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it had affected their lives. Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King’s marriage.
Martin Luther King Jr. was famous for his infidelities in the film and other publications. These infidelities played a role in his marriage as they were plastered all over the media. It is hard to know who to believe when it comes to these issues in King’s life. His wife, Coretta, was devoted to him and their family and tried to ignore the talk of any affairs that King participated in. He also received negative attention from the FBI, who tortured King and his family by ordering surveillance of King’s phones and hotel rooms. They tried everything they could do to destroy his marriage. Again, I think the film does not accurately represent their marriage. Coretta Scott King did not want to be remembered as the wife of MLK, Jr. but instead as a woman creating her legacy.
5. Draw some comparisons to Hidden Figures and Selma. They can be favorable or unfavorable to either or both. Explain your reasoning for the comparisons (minimum of 2).
The most obvious comparison between Hidden Figures and Selma is the lack of respect and credit for the accomplishments of the African-American characters. In both films, we see the lack of rights and how much they had to fight to support their dreams and wish for equality. We also see white characters often portrayed with much more likability than black characters and taking credit for their work. Sometimes, watching these stories has more credibility from a documentary than a big-screen movie.
1. I disagree with this historian. The historian argued that many parts of the film were incorrect, and mentioned that the director left out a few events that he [the historian] believed were the most important parts of the CRM. I think it is important to recognize that he is voicing his opinions, and using them to call the movie flawed is already a large indicator that his information is biased, and shouldn’t be used as a reliable source. He also mentions that the movie is flawed because the portrayal of LBJ is completely false, and biased. I believe this movie was meant to showcase the build up to the passing of the Voting Rights Act, and everything that happened in between, so to argue that LBJ deserved more credit in the movie is strange as that wasn’t the goal or theme.
4. I think both sides of history are always important to have for context in any situation, and when one argument completely disregards or overpowers the other, it becomes difficult to understand both people. I do, however, think that the main goal and theme of this movie was to explain the Civil Rights Movement and the events that took place within it. In this case, I believe it was okay for them to portray one side, in that it was a small section of everything that was going on. I also think that it is important to know who was behind the scenes for each law and accomplishment passed in America. Knowing the context behind the Voting Rights Act, and the measures African Americans went to to ensure a better future for black people is essential to remember and commend. So I think this portrayal of the event was great and represented those who fought hard for the rights and liberties minorities have in America today.
5. One similarity I noticed between Selma and Hidden Figures was both movies’ strive to reveal the people (specifically minorities in these two movies) behind the scenes of each American accomplishment. In Selma, the goal was to show the African Americans that fought for the right to vote, and for a decrease in discrimination against black people. Credit had always been given to Lynden Johnson for his laws created for black people, which had stripped the credit given to African American Civil Rights Activists such as MLK who led protests and started the movement to fight for equal rights. In Hidden Figures, one of the goals of the movie was to give credit to the African American women that fought hard during the Cold War for NASA, but were given little credit. Another similarity I noticed was the involvement of Jim Crow Laws in both movies. One of the important motives for the CRM were the Jim Crow Laws, which encouraged a “separate but equal” ideal in America. In Hidden Figures, we saw the three African American women using different restrooms labeled “colored” and being denied education because it was a “white” school. In Selma, we see African Americans being denied the right to vote, even though they were American citizens. Overall, this movie was great and I think it was eye opening in the sense that it gave credit to those who fought so hard but received little credit.
1.I do not agree with the article, and I would not consider the movie inherently flawed. The director does take some creative liberties with the events of the movie, but I think this is necessary for a film adaptation of a historical event, and it is an unfair standard to expect a movie to be completely accurate down to the timing of a news broadcast. The general themes explored by the movie paint a reasonably accurate picture of the movement in Selma and the culmination of the Civil Rights Act, and although it paints Johnson in an unfair light, the purpose of the movie is to highlight Dr. King, and his contributions to the movement. At the end of the day, the movie needs a compelling protagonist to follow, and Dr. King fits this role far better than Johnson. If this means constructing a narrative more from King’s perspective than from Johnson’s, that’s okay. While I wish the movie had painted Johnson more fairly, I don’t fault the director for making this decision and choosing to emphasize King’s struggle with Johnson rather than their cooperation.
2. I think that the portrayal of King’s marriage was extremely important to the story, and I think it makes King seem like more of a hero. What is often misunderstood, albeit sometimes intentionally, about Dr. King is that he was a flawed and complex man, just like all historical figures. However, this does not diminish the courage and willpower he possessed, or the great feats he accomplished during his lifetime. History is filled with flawed men, however we still owe everything we have to these flawed men nonetheless. Portraying King and his struggles in this light makes him more human, and knowing that a regular everyday human, one who struggled with infidelity, was able to accomplish and sacrifice so much is far more compelling than any other portrayal.
4. I think that the choice to portray a less sympathetic Johnson worked well for the movie from a cinematic standpoint, as it serves to show how Dr. King faced opposition from all sides during his Civil Rights Movement, but at the same time the portrayal comes off as fabricated. The dialogue scenes between MLK and LBJ seem contrived to paint Johnson as indifferent to the struggle of the CRM, and make MLK look self righteous and preachy, both of which are not really accurate portrayals of the characters. I think the general trend of showing more of King’s point of view regarding the CRM was a good choice, as his struggle and the struggle of his allies was what ultimately ended Jim Crow laws, not just legislation from the federal government. All that said, the movie could have benefitted from making Johnson look like less of a patronizing, ignorant buffoon, as the scenes where he behaves this way come across as heavy handed attempts to sideline his role in the story and villainize him.
1.) I partially agree with the historian. I believe that based on the facts the historian has given, there are some flaws within the movie Selma. However, I think the film still does an amazing job of portraying the major events regarding Dr. King, and the Civil Rights Movement. Of course there are very many additions that could have been placed in the film, but I think the ones that were there, showcased major events in the Civil Rights History. I believe when telling the story not every single detail will be relayed, and depending on what is or isn’t shown can be the thoughts from the director that said detail was not particularly needed. 2.)The portrayal of Dr.King’s marriage was needed. I think it is good to know that every leader in our history was an ordinary person, with ordinary issues like the rest of us. King’s marriage was not perfect, and he could’ve done some things wrong just like everyone else does in their marriages. I do still think that King was portrayed as a hero, but not wrongfully so. His marriage was effected by his efforts in the civil rights movement, but his effects longterm helped not only his wife but his children. 5.) The main similarity between Hidden Figures and Selma is the strong need for change. In both instances the change that could be brought could not be one sided, there had to be a want and need from both Black and White Americans. In Hidden Figures, the women needed the white Nasa workers to recognize their intelligence and appreciate what they could do. In Selma, the CRM needed the President to take notice and finally write the bill to help Black Americans have a natural right.
1. In my opinion the historian is both correct and wrong in some aspects. I think that he is correct in the fact that we need to know how things actually happened and not white wash it with these false narratives that the white man is always some type of hero. We need to be able to see our past and how our wrongdoings against minority groups were wrong. As well as how they had to fight through all of the struggles they faced from both racist whites and the police. But on the other hand, I disagree with him because it is a movie based on true events. Its not a documentary it doesn’t have to be one hundred percent correct in everything it does. The whole point is the movie is based on true events it doesn’t have to follow them to a tea to still be based on them. So in my opinion the author is right in his criticism but he is also kind of wrong.
2. In my opinion it actually does a great job of portraying him. I don’t think we should idolize people because all of these people at some point or another find out to be terrible people. Some examples include Gandi, mother Teresa, Michael Jackson, and many more. We look up to these people as role models which we should everyone is a human everyone has their own flaws thats what makes us human. If we only show the good thighs people do then we would never learn from our mistakes. Racism was acceptable in the 1800s and people looked up to these people such as Geroge Washington. We still do we shouldn’t forget the bad things he did but we shouldn’t render them as villains we should see them as the people they are. Because of that, I think the director’s rendition of MLK was good.
3. I think it was a product of its time. They didn’t want African Americans to gain their rights and they wanted a way to stop it. I think that it is terrible what they did and how they did it. But it had no affected on the future African Americans still gained more rights than they had before.
1. I agree with the historian a little bit. In the article, the historian said that Bloody Sunday was not depicted as being important in the movie, yet it was one of the most important events. They also didn’t explain how Martin Luther King turned around after he prayed during the March. They cut to him in the church telling people that he did not want to die, but they didn’t explain why he still did that, since he had a march earlier. In the article, the historian explains that Wallace and Clark would not attack them if he went back to the church. After reading the article, I think that this movie is not completely flawed. I learned a lot from this movie, even though I didn’t get all of the clarity and details that I got from reading this article.
2. I think that Martin Luther King’s marriage used to be a loving and nice relationship on both sides. After Martin Luther King started to become an activist is where I think that it went downhill. The threats that were sent to kill him, his kids and his wife definitely made his wife scared, further ruining their marriage and making her upset with him. His wife was mad at him because she thinks that he loves the community more than he loves her. She also knew that he had an affair, even after he told her that he loved her.
4. I think that the more non-sympathetic Johnson that was shown was good for the movie and the history of it because it further showed that not a lot of people liked or sympathized with Martin Luther King Jr. in that time period. It also shows that it took a very long time and a lot of convincing to give black people the right to vote or the rights to anything really. President Johnson was showing how a lot of people felt towards Martin Luther King at that time and how the American government did not like him and did not want him to be a person in power.
After reading over the article, I think I agree with the main concepts the author is trying to present. What I drew from this as the main idea was that there were too many stories that werent being told. Characters who had large roles were only given one or two scenes, LBJ was portrayed as being wholeheartedly against the civil rights movement, albeit diplomatically, whereas in reality his views changed from moderately conservative to liberal over the course of his presidency. I think this definitely makes this movie flawed. If the goal is to have a relatively accurate videography of King and his actions in Selma as well as the civil rights movement in general, then the people who played large local roles must be included on a greater scale than what the movie really shows.
I think the portrayal of the King marriage is an interesting take on history. While its important to include all aspects of the life of King in a movie centered around him, details of his marriage seem relatively unimportant in the big picture of him and his contributions to the civil rights movement. I also thought they might have exaggerated some of the sentiments from Coretta. They added some dramatic effects that I feel werent really accurate to the situation as it mightve actually happened. Despite their marriage issues, as far as I was concerned Coretta backed MLK fervishely. I’m not aware of what sources were used to get the information used to write up that part of the story, but I would be interested in investigating their credibility.
I think the abuses of power by the FBI and J Edgar Hoover in particular shown in the movie go against everything the federal government should be standing for and shouldve been standing for at the time. The job of the FBI is not to destroy activist movements, but to protect against dangers to America within it borders, which they stepped well outside of according to the movie. I don’t care that the FBI was interested in members of the civil rights movement because it was a major disruptive event and the FBI has every right to concern themselves with members of an event like that, but wiretaps and manufactured evidence are beyond the bounds of law, even for the FBI.
1) I agree with the historian’s views as he states that he feels the movie shows MLK with his strengths and weaknesses, in the public and in the home. This brings respect to him as he was able to handle the pressure without breaking. Though as the historian remarks it makes an ironic situation as the movie follows a main character set up with the premise of a one man situation, when in reality the civil rights movement followed the belief that the movement was not one but many people. This was not reflected in the movie which brought a more sour tone to the way it was structured.
3) The abuse of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s power to survey Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his family, and the other prominent members of the Civil Rights Movement was clearly shown in the movie through transitions of scenes often starting with reports taken of where he was and what he was doing. The other actions they took such as sending messages to his home saying that he was having an extramarital affair was a gross use of power. All previously mentioned being a part of the larger cold war, thus being where the FBI got their power of wiretapping and spying.
5) Hidden Figures and Selma were both movies which showed the struggle of African Americans and their push for their rights. Both focus on their advancement, hidden figures showing the advancement of them in NASA and how the three main characters were able to push against the sexist and racist norms in NASA. Meanwhile Selma was more focused on the official Civil Rights Movement under MLK and the push for African Americans to vote in the south. They shared many similarities though had a very notable difference, while Hidden Figures focused on the people behind the scenes who didn’t get recognition, Selma focused on the Civil Rights Movement from the front, looking at its workings and how it appeared from the front under MLK’s leadership. In the end both movies promoted the advancement of African Americans in the country in a cinematic form.
1. After reading this article, I agree that the film is flawed in some places, but not all. While reading the article, I learned some details about the event that I wouldn’t have known just based on the movie. However, I think that it was also difficult to showcase every event that occurred in this time period, so the people who made the movie made sure to focus on what they perceived as the most important events. I also think that the movie did a good job of showing the government/FBI’s true stance on the Civil Rights Movement. They weren’t all in on the idea of giving black people the full right to vote, and the movie does a good job of showing this. It also shows MLK’s true relationship with his wife and people in his movement. Overall, the movie is missing some components but it gives a good overview of the movement through MLK and the government. (It wouldn’t let me access the article twice so I had to write from memory and I didn’t have specifics, sorry).
3. Sometimes it’s unimaginable to think that the government and FBI have so much power that they spy on people through tapped phones and more. In some of my extra credit assignments for earlier trimesters I watched documentaries on Malcom X and Martin Luther King. These documentaries examined the ways that the FBI spied on these leaders of the Civil Rights Movement because they thought of them to be dangerous. They tapped their phones and listened to them 24/7. They discovered information on these leaders to attempt to make them powerless by exposing their flaws like how King was cheating on his wife. This is very disturbing that leaders abuse their powers this way to try and put down a movement for equal rights. In this movie it shows many of their logs that discuss King’s actions. I believe the FBI are in the wrong for this because they justified it as trying to protect people from the violence, but really they needed this movement to occur in order to end the violence. The FBI and Hoover abuse the power they are given by the government to unlawfully spy on people involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
5. At one point in “Hidden Figures”, Mary is in her house with her two children and her husband. A video comes on the TV of black people being beaten. She says to her husband that their children don’t need to see this, but he responds by saying that they need to see it. In the movie “Selma”, Bloody Sunday is broadcasted on TV and played after the fact. Bloody Sunday was an attack on black people as they were peacefully marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. They were brutally attacked by white police officers which was televised to the whole nation, making many people question the way that black people were being treated. While there was only a small glimpse of the violence that black people faced in the movie “Hidden Figures”, the tv broadcast that Mary sees suggests that there are huge amounts of violence. Television is used to show these acts if violence in both movies. Both these instances give insight to the attacks black people faced which were televised to the whole nation.
In both movies there are countless forms of segregation between black and white people. In “Selma” it showcases the fact that black people are segregated in buses, public places, and voting. Black people are suppressed by being perceived as less smart. At one point in the movie “Selma”, a black women goes to register to vote and is asked impossible questions. The white man asking these questions makes sure that these questions are unanswerable just to keep her from voting. It seems as though she should know the answer (but doesn’t) even though if a white person were asked the same question, they wouldn’t know the right answer. Similarly, in “Hidden Figures”, the women that work at NASA are seen as not as smart as the white men, simply because of the color of their skin and their gender. They are also not allowed to gain certain knowledge because of segregated schools and libraries. In both movies, the injustices against black people are highlighted because of the views of white people. They see them as inferior even though they have the same (or even better) knowledge as whites. Segregation creates a barrier for blacks where their rights are suppressed.
I agree with the historian because I think Bloody Sunday was an important event in the Civil Rights Movement because it brought national outrage throughout the country. I do think the omission of that important scene does make this movie a little flawed because it could have provided for context for someone who doesn’t know anything about the Civil Rights Movement.
I think that as this movie was titled, “Selma,” and that it is about the march, the movie should be focused on Dr. Martin Luther King’s contributions, because he was the man spearheaded all these operations. But, as the entire operation ended in Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act, I think it’s important to keep that part in the movie. But, I think as a story about Martin Luther King, they should focus more on his contributions and his life and story. LBJ is an important contributor throughout the story, but it should focus more on MLK.
I think the portrayal of the flawed King marriage was important to keep in because it showed how Martin Luther King was still a normal person. Despite these incredible things he did that will be kept in the history books forever, he still made mistakes that he can’t go back on. Additionally, everybody already knows that Martin Luther King was one of the most influential men in American history and most people know his story, but they do not know about his personal life. I think that it’s valuable to show how Martin Luther King’s work affected his personal life and his relationship with his wife, Coretta. People should know that he led a very hard life and he was under an immense amount of stress and pressure that had lasting effects on his health and personal life.
I agree with the historian that more “minor” voices in the civil rights movement could have been shown, but I think the movie was not flawed because of this as a movie that needs to make profits to succeed, showing the intricate details of the lives of people who had more niche roles in the civil rights movement could have harmed profits, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but would discourage more movies of this nature from being made. Focusing on King keeps the audience engaged because they already know who he is. It’s less of a learning experience and more of a dramatization of (mostly) known history. The historian is correct that some minor things are left out pr incorrect, but this was necessary to make a movie that could survive Hollywood standards.
I think this portrayal of King is overall good for audiences and their broader view of history. Many sources that people learn from portray King as a hero and flawless person. While he was extremely influential in pushing the civil rights movement forward, he was not perfect. King did great things, but it’s harmful to think of any historical figure as perfect. By portraying King as a flawed person who did great things, the movie is able to break the image modern society created for him. I also like how it shows that some of his problems were caused by white FBI workers. Many people have preconceived notions that white people felt the same about King as they do now, idolizing him as a perfect civil rights advocate who they never tried to stop from doing the right thing. Showing his flaws but also the flaws of those around him humanizes King and breaks the idea that King was loved by everyone when he was alive as he is now.
5. One similarity between Selma and Hidden Figures is that they both center black voices as the highlight of their film. As the historian pointed out, Selma does not show the lesser know civil rights activists, but Hidden Figure’s entire premise is highlighting voices that arent heard in history. A difference between the two films is how they portray the white “bosses”. In Hidden Figures, the NASA boss is somehow shown to be less racist than those around him and a hero in the story, saving the day for Katherine and looking out for her when others try to put her down. This portrayal is not too realistic in my opinion. In Selam, Johnson is portrayed as a harsh president who’s unwilling to compromise. He is likely portrayed as too harsh, as he likely had many obstacles stopping him from passing the voting rights act in addition to his own prejudices.
This doesn’t make the movie flawed, because you still see the contributions of other black people, not just Martin Luther King, because King is portrayed as complex, you can see how he overcomes a multitude of issues. King is seen as the main hero, which I believe is important to the film, and does not make the film flawed like the historian believes. While the film is not perfect, Selma is a well-written film that captures a very important story that isn’t covered much throughout history, and needs to be talked about more.
I think King is portrayed as a complex person because in most instances, everyone thinks King is just a hero, and a perfect man, however, nobody’s perfect and that is the case with King. In my opinion, it’s important to establish King’s life as complex, so you can understand all of the issues King was going through, while still being heroic in many ways. This actually causes the audience to appreciate King more because you can understand how he is so motivational and powerful, while dealing with so many different things at once. It makes the King more admirable.
In my opinion, the FBI being very invasive shows they are out to get people of color. This can be seen through the FBI wiretapping people in the Civil Rights movement, which is a breach of privacy. The FBI going out to get people can be seen as fabricating evidence in an attempt to make King appear as a bad person, which is completely wrong, because they had no reason to go after him. The only reason they did go after him is because he is a black person, and is a leader of the Civil Rights movement. This abuse of power by Hoover and the FBI is representative of things that still go in today, as people have prejudice towards black people, and stereotype them as criminals, making them more likely to suspect black people in crimes.
1. I agree with the historian as there are many flaws. The biggest thing is the characterization of LBJ. This is highly inaccurate as LBJ was resistant at first but not totally against. The movie also mentioned something about the JFK assassination hurting the movement, but JFK didn’t help despite prior promises. I don’t personally know much about the accuracy of the events, but the historian seems credibly to point out these flaws. I also don’t think Selma had harmful misinformation that took away from the main idea of the Civil Rights Movement. However, its mistakes are damaging towards the reputation of people like LBJ. Although this movie isn’t perfect, I think it is still a somewhat decent depiction that shows the struggles African Americans faced. Despite this upward climb, it doesn’t immortalize the people by showing their flaws.
3. For a while now, I have known about the corruptions and scandals of Hoover’s FBI. This movie did nothing but disgust me even more about the FBI’s doings. They knew so much about MLK to the point where it was intense stalking. Every phone call, in house movement, and breath was monitored by them. They put a ridiculous amount of resources into trying to tear down MLK and Malcolm’s reputation. It is incredibly unsettling that Hoover and his men were able to do this.
5. Selma and Hidden Figures had a few notable similarities. Both movies had white figures of power that started out resistant to changes. In Hidden Figures, Paul Stafford doesn’t like Kathryn and is constantly resistant to her being involved with the reasoning of protocol violations. Dorothy faces a lot of blowback from Vivian Mitchell the supervisor. Vivian doesn’t believe she has prejudice but constantly stops the progress of Dorothy. This is similar to LBJ in Selma as he believes he is an advocate for Civil Rights but doesn’t do anything to support them. Like Paul Stafford, he also starts of in borderline racist attitude. Hidden Figures and Selma also show a feministic view and highlight the important contributions women made. Hidden Figures is obviously about 3 women in STEM (a traditional man’s field). Selma has many women but Tessa Thompson of the SNCC stands out. She is a unheard of name that fought for the advancement of Civil Rights.
1. (The website wouldn’t allow me to access the article more than once)I somewhat agree with the historian because I do admire that black heroes came to light in this movie without making them look inhumane, but I also believe that some details were most likely left out for the time sake of the movie. I do see how little details could have been added, for example, the black woman knocking a white cop down and little side details that could have been added but other details I understand were not included in order to (like MLKs reasoning for turning around) to not take up too much time in the movie.
2. I appreciate how King’s marriage was portrayed in the movie because even though everyone today knows him as such an incredible inspiration and hero, this viewpoint also showed us that he was still a real person with real problems. Everyone has trouble in their marriages and I really loved how although Corretta and King didn’t always think the same, their love for one another was still shown- for example when she came to the court hearing and then walked with him on the bridge. In a way, it was beautiful because it showed even heroes/ public figures’ lives aren’t perfect and their marriage was a very relatable portrayal of real-world marriage.
4. MLK’s portrayal as being the one who sparked the Voting Rights Act is correct because, in my opinion, LBJ could have acted sooner, but in the movie, he still was the one who didn’t do anything about these killings on the Edmund Pettis Bridge and “stood by to watch” in a way. He wasn’t the perfect president just as MLK wasn’t perfect either, but LBJ’s portrayal as sympathetic and anti-racist I don’t think would have been an accurate portrayal because it’s not like everything in the movie about LBJ was made up, he could’ve done some things different along the way and overall, leading up to the Civil Rights Act, he definitely could have been more open to MLK’s idea and could have stopped “waiting” which is something thousands of black people had been told for years and years.
1) I agree with the historian; that the movie is semi-flawed. On one hand, the movie did its best to give us a more “human” version of Dr. King. It showed most of his flaws. In the film they included a scene where Coretta confronted King about him sleeping with other women, forcing him to come clean after playing an audio of him cheating. It also showed him struggling to make decisions about the county and his range of emotions. Seeing him not being portrayed as a bright, shiny, and smiling hero all of the time was refreshing. They also did a good job portraying the graphic details of Selma. The murdering of the priest, the death of the man in the cafe, and Bloody Sunday were all depicted beautifully. It showed the real dark and grittiness of the situation. With that being said the movie did leave out some key details the historians brought to my attention. They didn’t include enough facts and background information. For example, the woman in the beginning actually got fired from her job from attempting to register to vote. Other acts of bravery on behalf of the Selma citizen were not included either. Another important reality that wasn’t included was that King actually made a deal with the FBI, which is why he turned around at the march. In the film he claimed he didn’t know and I wished they included him lying. All together, there were some disappointing facts about the film but they did a great job and should be given credit for creating a more realistic Civil Rights movie than what we’ve seen in the past.
2) I loved the way they portrayed King’s marriage. It showed a dark side of their story we don’t usually see. Most of the time the King is put on a pedestal seen as a saintly man who could do no wrong. In one scene of the film he is even called “the lord” by SNCC members. Coretta and his love and marriage, from the outside view, is just as perfect. Seeing his internal family structure break down from his actions is exciting to say the least. It makes him a more human man, somewhat relatable. It made me think “if he could change history and still be flawed, what’s stopping me?”
3)I felt as if this portrayal was realistic. I’m glad that it was included in the film, because it shows how powerful the US government is. They were able to wiretap him and his closest partner’s homes. I enjoyed seeing it in the movie. Along with proving how powerful the government is, it also showed how afraid the government was of change. They were so against giving African Americans equality that they would find any evidence they could to destroy the movement down. The government’s goal was to tear apart King’s home life to destroy his motivation and to manipulate the public to believe him and other movement leaders were communists. At one point they even mentioned how they could “get rid of the problem”, which I inferred as using military strength to kill him. They did whatever they could to get their way and their tactics were down right evil.
2.) I think that the portrayal of the King’s marriage is accurately shown in this film. I believe that this was an important aspect of the film and history because prior to this film I had no idea that Martin Luther King had done this. It’s very important, maybe even essential to history, that this is known by children in highschool and young adults. I think it shows how even public figures who were thought to be perfect in every single way, are flawed and have also made mistakes that they are not proud of. This also goes to show how the nature of history is skewed by not including the point of view from Coretta King. And so by including the Angle of history in the eyes of Coretta we can now see the full picture of what truly happened with the king in his personal life. I truly believe that stories like these need to be openly shared and more commonly known in the public, history is history whether we like it or not.
3.) These particular abuses of power go to show what kinds of lengths the government is willing to go through for their personal gain. Their abuse of power also leads to questions such as what other major historical figures and events have they tampered with and or interfered with throughout history? These abuses of power are completely wrong and unlawful and should honestly be thoroughly investigated going forward. There is no reason whatsoever that the government should be interfering with people’s personal lives unless they are hurting our country. But in this case with MLK he was only trying to help America’s oppressed peoples and in no way hurting the country. The government only interfered because they didn’t like what he was doing, they didn’t like the change he was putting the country through.
1.) I agree with the historian that the majority of the film Selma, focuses on the exposing of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement rather than displaying the bravery of those who fought for their rights. It distorts the historical reality and completely changes the focal point. The purpose of this movie is to tell the story of Selma, but, for the most part, it manipulates events and doesn’t show the story from all perspectives. Selma presents King with a realistic approach, but appears to minimize the voice of the people who probably have the most important side of the story to tell.
2.) This film shows us a new angle of Martin Luther King that I didn’t anticipate. We see the fierce leader side of him, but we also see his stubbornness and the blunders he made, including Coretta’s and King’s marriage. The portrayal of Coretta in this movie is very different from what I expected. She is shown as someone who feels betrayed by Martin Luther King leaving behind his family to lead the movement. She is represented as a stereotypical housewife who fears the terrors of Selma, and reluctantly accepts the fact that King dishonored their marriage. I originally thought this movie was supposed to be more of a historical lesson, but I feel like it overly exposes King and victimizes Coretta in a Hollywood type of way, and loses focus on King’s 1965 campaign. But, I suppose it teaches the audience that MLK was human after all and that the government abused their powers.
3.) The portrayal of the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover in this movie renders them the antagonists. It presents the government as an abusive power and not a government that listens to or helps the people it governs. But also, Lyndon B. Johnson is shown as a hero, forgetting the courageous people who actually advocated for themselves and for the bill to be passed. I find the actions of the government in this movie egregious; they aimed to destroy the movement and come out looking like a good samaritan. This exhibits how the government worked against the people of our nation during this time period.
1. I agree with the historian because although the story illustrated a positive depiction of MLK and inside his inner circle, it fails to illustrate the true amount of the help MLK got, instead of showing him as a practically god-like figure. Although it’s understandable for this film to not be historically accurate as it’s trying to highlight the journey that MLK went through at Selma and his fight in it, a common occurrence in the film is the neglect of side characters who were just as significant to the cause. An example of this is the person who sent the anonymous letter and audio tape that ended up fracturing King’s relationship. In the movie, Johnson approved this message and was sent by the FBI; however, in reality, this was sent by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who personally sent this to MLK as personal spite against him. Another example was the second march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in the film it appeared as though he choose to pray and turn around; however, in real life, he had made a secret agreement with Florida governor LeRoy Collins and promised not to cross the bridge and just didn’t tell the others. Other numerous pieces of evidence downplayed the credibility of the film. Although much of this was to improve other characteristics of a film, in the end, this affected the image of MLK as a person and a symbol for the Civil Rights Movement by adding details to the antagonists of the story to make it appear a bigger obstacle for King or take away details to make us admire him all the more for overcoming the political and personal problems that would have defeated a lesser man.
2. I think that including the inner secrets regarding marriage was essential in keeping the audience educated. MLK was and still is a household name, with people automatically assuming he was an all-good, iconic, and heavenly person the film was able to breathe complexity into MLK’s narrative. This humanized him and helped the audience better relate to the massive face of America and understand that he was human too.
5. A comparison that I found between hidden figures and Selma was the similarity of both protagonists of both stories being black. Although this is a rather blatant observation it’s important to recognize that not too long ago every story involved a white protagonist with little to no representation of any minority community. Being able to see the growth in Hollywood Industries is inspiring to many Americans (black or not) as there’s someone for them to look up to in new movies. Similar to a question in the previous clogged we can see history and different lenses in this context it was from the groups who experienced firsthand the discrimination and Injustice that many faced. This similarity is further conveyed as LBJ’s considered a more negative character in Selma, along with the fact that in Hidden Figures, just like the title, we learned about different hidden people previously unable to tell their stories. A difference between Selma and hidden figures is that Selma’s story focused on a very very well-known Civil Rights Activist who is a household Name Across America. This is compared to the tale of hidden figures which was a group of three relatively unknown women making strides in NASA in both stopping inequalities as well as academic success. Finally, another difference spotted between the two films was the target that both protagonists were trying to fix. For MLK it was Selma, Alabama, and for Hidden Figures, it was Hampton, Virginia. These locations posed different threats with Selma’s being more physical and brutal and the Hidden Figures being more passive-aggressive like the segregated bathrooms or coffee machines. These Comparisons bring to question whether any of America was truly safe from inequality, as different regions of America faced two different examples of racism.
In my opinion, I agree with what the historian has to say about the movie. I think that it is flawed in some aspects, which makes it a little confusing and hard to follow at times. There are lots of places in the movie where I felt the director should give more background or explanation. I think that this definitely flaws the movie in some way. It makes the characters seem not as smart as they are for making decisions without reason. This puts them into a bad light and possibly does the opposite of what the director wanted this movie to do. I think that if the director added a couple of more key scenes, they would’ve perfected the image that they wanted to show.
I feel that the way the movie showed King’s marriage is exactly the way that it should be shown. I think that if the director felt that his marriage was a key part to the telling of the story, then it was the right thing to do. If the way it was portrayed was changed to show him being a better husband, then it wouldn’t be telling the full story and some parts or reasoning might get cloudy or confusing to the audience. Most other biographical movies don’t spare details about the characters they’re depicting, so I feel that this movie shouldn’t be any different. I also feel that his attitude towards his wife is shown as progressing throughout the movie, which adds another side narrative to the story being told, which makes it better.
I think that the FBI was way out of line with what they did to King and the other members of the CRM. They did so much to try and prove something that was obviously not true and I feel that they’re actual reasons were more racially motivated than they let on. The wiretapping was extremely invasive and unnecessary. I think that the FBI went over the line and abused their power in this situation and when the actual recordings get released we will get the full story behind this abuse in power.
1. I agree with the historian. The movie Selma butchered some of the most important events that took place during this civil rights movement. Specifically, bloody sunday. I agree with the author that at least they did cover the event in action, however they do not show a great deal of respect in the way they represented things. They brought it up as Americans instantly found out about Bloody Sunday, however in reality it took a very long time for these events to get out to the entirety of the American people and I don’t really think Americans cared as much as represented in the film.
2. I think that the movie Selma did a great job at portraying Martin Luther King’s relationship with his wife. SHowing this side of his life helped show us all that even the best of people have flaws in their life. Throughout the movie we can see many troubles between MLK and his wife such as MLK cheating on her again and again. This is information that outside of the movie people really would not have known about. It’s important to show this info in the movie to get a better insight into his life and show that even though he is a good man he had many flaws, and those flaws caused many arguments with his wife and lots of sadness.
4. I honestly think that the movie Selma should have shown a more sympathetic President Johnson than the one they did on screen. For starters the way this movie plays out president johnson makes him look like a decently bad person, when in reality he was not this bad. I also think that it just overall a bad idea to change the way the events actually happened in true movies like this, especially in a movie that covers such a heavy topic.
1. I agree with the historian because the film is historically inaccurate. The film depicts King as an activist who preached nonviolence but depended on violence. King explains that the only way to push for the Voting Rights bill is to have brutal attacks the media will cover. In addition, The film overlooks a lot of other important figures. We learned nothing about Amelia Boynton, who has been a significant activist for civil rights for decades. The film also ignores the teachers of Selma who took part in the protests. London B. Johnson overcasts King. The movie gives LBJ more credit in the Civil Rights Movement than King.
2. The movie has a more human approach to describing King. It shows him as a complex man who was flawed, but despite that, he accomplished great things. The film depicts his wife, Correta, as a victim in the relationship , which ulitmatley discredits her hard work in the Civil RIghts movement. Coretta blames her husband for leaving the family during his trips and is distraught that her husband dishonored their marriage vows. In actuality, she worked tirelessly to perpetuate King’s dream and the film doesn’t protray this.
5. One way that Hidden Figures and Selma are similar is because they both show white people as contributors in the film. In Hidden Figures, Katherine gets called back after being fired, when John Glen (the astronaut) requests her help and says that he’ll only launch with her help. In a more significant scene, Katherine’s supervisor gets rid of the colored bathrooms and says, “at NASA we all pee the ame color”. Also, Katherine’s white coworkers buy her a pearl necklace. In the movie, Selma, a lot of the focus is on London B Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. Although the film first shows LBJ as reluctant, it still emphasizes his work more than King’s. It also highlights how white people left their families to support King. The film shows more white contributions, than necessary to tell the story. These multiple examples give white people a better repuatation in both films. This leads me to belive that both movies are directed to a white audience.
1. I disagree with the historian’s viewpoint. I believe that the film did well at presenting the background history of MLK and an inside into his personal life. Many of the things I learned from the movie, I hadn’t known of before. For example, a very important event was the “Turnaround Tuesday” which gave insight into the events that took place in Selma. In a film executed like this one, it is difficult to include all information about the story, but I believe the director did not create flaws in the film by doing this.
2. This movie is very different from others that explain the story of Dr. King. I do believe the portrayal of Martin Luther King was accurate in the aspects of how he is a hero. But, I do not think including his infidelity takes away from his historical impact. The impact of MLK’s infidelity affected his marriage significantly. Coretta Scott has spoken about her suspicions of his loyalty before them being true. Although MLK’s infidelity is a subject that is emotional and private to his family, this movie helped reveal some aspects of King which would not have been known about before.
3. Hidden Figures and Selma had several similarities and differences. One favorable comparison is the perspective and protagonists of the film. In both films, the protagonist is an African American and the movie is shot from their point of view(s). Typically, in mainstream movies during the late 1900s, African Americans are misrepresented or the film is shown from a white perspective. Also, from what I have researched both films have some inaccuracies from the historical time they were placed in. Specifically in Selma, it is argued that the film misrepresented the relationship between LBJ and MLK as mostly negative. And in Hidden Figures, discrimination regarding the segregation of NASA was inaccurate in the film. For example, Katherine Johnson herself claims that she did not feel discriminated against while working at NASA.
I agree with the Historian. I hate when people censor information for whatever reason. There is no point in telling a story if you’re going to manipulate it. Especially for the director to want to prove that “he was more than a speech and a statue but a flawed, complex man that did extraordinary things”. If the goal really was to humanize him and get the full story out then she failed. I really was confused on what the reasoning was. The real reason seems actually really important to the development of the story as well. Overall I don’t think the movie was bad or entirely flawed, but it definitely wasn’t perfect and it picked and chose when to show the truth about certain things.
2. I truly loved the portrayal of their marriage. Lots of people think he’s so God-like because of what he was able to accomplish. But this part of the movie proved he’s human just like everyone else. It proved that he sinned and made mistakes like the rest of us. Also it showed how strong Coretta was and what she had to put up with. She had to stand by him and be supportive while looking after her kids, who were all getting death threats! She was tired but she still fought along him, and in return of being his ride or die, he cheats on her. And lies to her face at that. And then she still stood by her man and dedicated her life to his cause after his death. After learning about that I have a newfound respect for Coretta. I don’t know ho she was able to stay strong like that but I’m so glad they actually showcased her strength in the movie. While everyone was fawning over Doctor King and his achievements, it really was Coretta holding it down in the shadows and we were able to finally see that flawed side of him.
5. One thing I loved about both Hidden Figures and Selma, is it showcased the names that no one ever talks about. Instead of naming it “King” and making it all about Dr. King, they called it Selma and focused on everyone that made an impact in the movement. In hidden figures they focused on the people we never hear about. Also they both showcased the white people that played a role in the movement and showed their support. In Hidden figures we saw Mary and Katherine’s bosses support them regardless of their skin color.
I somewhat agree with the historian, but I do not believe this alone makes the movie flawed. I do think the scene where King turns back on the bridge and goes the other way should have been explained more. In the film, he merely kneeled down to pray, then turned around and did not face Wallace’s men when he got up. He walked back through his supporters without explaining anything. When they questioned him later, he merely responded “I don’t know,” which didn’t really make much sense. Showing that Dr. King had actually made a deal to kneel down and pray but not actually lead the march, and then turn around should have been explained in the movie, but it wasn’t. It would be seen as painting Dr. King in a negative light, but I think it would have been necessary to explain what really happened because that is the truth. Overall though, I don’t think this one scene makes the movie completely flawed. The film had excellent depictions of other events, and I think it had a very important message of showing what really happened in Selma.
I think the way the film portrayed Dr. King’s marriage was very eye-opening and surprising. I had previously known that Dr. King hadn’t been completely honest and loyal with his wife, but I didn’t know that she had known about it as well. In one scene, we see someone call the King household, and Coretta finds out that Martin had been with other women. Spreading this information about Dr. King definitely would have damaged his reputation and the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, so it makes sense that Coretta didn’t really speak up. King said that he didn’t love any of the other women and that he only loved Coretta, but that doesn’t really make it ok to cheat on your wife multiple times with multiple different women.
As a whole, I do not think the abuses of power by the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover should have been ok. They were wiretapping King’s residence to gather information on him so they could likely smear his name or blackmail him, which doesn’t seem legal in the slightest. Just because they disagreed with his agenda, they wanted to get rid of him and label him as a communist. Overall, I do not think these abuses of power by the government should have ever been allowed.
1. I completely agree with this historian. The movements made by black Americans during the Civil Rights period was a collective effort. Yeah some people may have led more, but so many individuals fought so hard and for so long and their voices aren’t recognized. Martin Luther King Jr. did so much for black Americans, but he has been highlighted in the media so much as the only leader, while there were so many more who haven’t had that spotlight or made their mark on current society. Although there were many missing parts, I do not believe the movie is flawed. Most of the main points and events were showcased in a historically accurate way. The movie could have been even less flawed if more things were explained and more people highlighted for their efforts, but a movie can only be so long, so a director is forced to cut some pieces of information out, which is why historical movies are tough to produce.
2. The portrayal of the King’s marriage shown in the movie was very informative. We see Coretta staying loyal to Martin because she knows she has to. He is gone for months and she has to keep their kids and home safe. She also realizes she needs to stay with him because she had a better chance of achieving her own goals under his wing. Her leaving him could have also altered his protests and fight, which was really needed at the time. When they hear the tape of Martin with another lady, Coretta already knew. She knew he had been with other women and kind of had come to accept it because she couldn’t leave him. If something more had happened between them, the Civil Rights Movement might not have been as successful because of how influential Martin Luther King Jr. was.
4. I think the portrayal of President Johnson in the movie was the correct portrayal to be shown. Selma was created to highlight the important voices of black Americans in the Civil Rights movement. Like suggested in the article, an older movie was made that congratulated the white FBI for what they did for the Civil rights movement, which diminished the hard worked efforts of the black Americans. President Johnson doesn’t need to be seen in an amazing light because there is already information about him in society, where these black people who fought hard don’t ever get that recognition.
1. I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.
The video was flawed because it focused on people we already knew about and had a lot of publicity instead of underground activists. It was also flawed because it left out key details during certain events that were portrayed incorrectly.
2. The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero. In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it had affected their lives. Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King’s marriage.
I think the portrayal of his marriage went against the proponents of the movie. The movie was supposed to educate us on the reality of how he fought for the end of slavery and his fight agaisnt racsim. I feel as if they added information of his marriage as a drama factor that slowly took over the whole entire movie. I also think the writers were trying to take away his glory by showcasing him to the world as a cheating husband who had a double life. To me that is not fair because that was his personal life that is completely separate from his life of fighting racism. The writers could have honestly cut those parts of the movie and replaced them with more scenes of him fighting for justice.
5. Draw some comparisons to Hidden Figures and Selma. They can be favorable or unfavorable to either or both. Explain your reasoning for the comparisons (minimum of 2)
A difference between the two movies would be the representation of white people and how they treated black people who stuck up for themselves. In Hidden Figures the wjhite people were less aggressive and more calm when the black people requested their demands. In Selma the wwhite people were completely horrible and abused their power and harmed hundreds of them. They were more abusive and more dangerous to be around. Also, the women in Selma were depicted to be more of background activity while the women in Hidden Figures were the main activists fighting for their rights. The women were seen as strong minded individuals while in Selma they were seen as simple wives in the background attimes.
I agree with Gary May, the author of the “Dr. King Goes to Hollywood” article on The Daily Beast. Though this film is trying to display the truth of the events that took place in Selma, it glorifies the white characters while denouncing the Black characters, including Martin Luther King Jr.. The producer, DuVernay, had a goal to show King as a real person and not just a figure in a movement. She wanted to show the audience that he was a flawed individual despite his accomplishments, and she did this by showcasing his marriage problems due to his own infidelity. Overall, I believe that this movie has a unique perspective on the Selma marches, but it also contains many flaws in its portrayal of the Civil Rights movement.
2. I believe that it was an interesting decision to portray Martin Luther King Jr. the way that Selma did. Many view him as an indestructible force of purity in the Civil Rights movement, but in the end, he was just a man. I liked that they displayed him as having flaws (his marriage) and being a real person, but while they did this correctly, they minimized the damage caused by white characters in this film, too. At times, MLK and his followers were villainized while the white characters were seen as peacekeepers. I believe that this narrative was pushed further because of the portrayal of King and his marriage. He was exposed as a cheater, and this allowed the audience to turn against him and instead root for the white saviors of this story.
4. I believe that Selma’s portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson was the correct one to show in this film. Though many of his supporters will argue that he was a hardworking man who was sympathetic to the Civil Rights Movement, he is not meant to be the main character of this story; African Americans are. Maybe he should’ve been painted in a better light, but this story is not about him. It is about the struggles of African Americans fighting for their own Civil Rights during this time period.
1. I agree with the historian for the most part because he gives a detailed explanation for the reasons of why Dr. King did many of the things he did and the reasons for them, even some mistakes that he made, as well as detailing the other important characters’ thoughts and emotions.
2. I think that Dr. King’s marriage is portrayed fairly for the most part in the movie because even a great man like him still had some flaws and if the movie did not show his flaws, then it would make Dr. King seem like he is greater than human. I think that this allows for everyone to have a better understanding of Dr. King, as well as Coretta King.
3. I disagree with the measures that Agent Hoover was taking to get information about the civil rights movement because it invaded everyone’s privacy and even tried to make up lies about the civil rights leaders and I disagree with Hoover using bias during his investigations.