Selma Online initiative offers an online free Civil rights history guide
Last week, Paramount Pictures had announced that director Ava DuVernay’s critically-acclaimed film Selma is now streaming free on all US digital platforms throughout this month as a way to support the ongoing global protests for the Black Lives Matter movement. For viewers, who want to gain a much better understanding about the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 civil rights movement, documentary filmmaker and Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. along with The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program and Left Field labs have teamed up to create a free online resource initiative called Selma Online, which you should definitely check out by clicking here!
Selma Online was first launched earlier this year in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday,” which was the first attempt of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The platform uses scenes from Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film as a storyboard to bring the voting rights movement to life. The initiative also aims to give teachers a comprehensive guide to educate students on America’s historical and significant path towards the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This will not only benefit teachers and students but will also be accessible to anyone with an interest in the civil rights movement.
The module can be integrated into a variety of courses, from U.S. History and Civics to American Literature, to the Visual Arts, and can be completed in as little as two class periods. Each of the twelve “chapters” can be taught individually or as part of a broader course. Educators can also find a link on the website for the Selma Online Teaching Guide file where they can use to teach students in 7th to 12th Grades.
Selma tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.
The film had a star-studded cast that included David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Stephan James, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, Lakeith Stanfield, Alessandro Nivola, Wendell Pierce Giovanni Ribisi, and Lorraine Toussaint. It also featured Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Colman Domingo, Niecy Nash, Nigel Thatch, Jeremy Strong and more.
Selma was directed and executive produced by acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay from a script written by Paul Webb. It was produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey and was executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales.
Since its theatrical release in 2014, the film had received critical-acclaimed and had earned a number of recognitions from award-giving bodies including 2 Oscar nominations and 4 Golden Globe Nominations for categories in Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It also took home the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common and John Legend.