Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Dying to Vote

(I posted the following on Facebook on April 4, 2016, based on a conversation I had with my class of future geography teachers that afternoon.)

It is a very appropriate day to mention Selma, a film that captures an important aspect of what Rev. King was trying to do.
One of the last photos of Dr. King, April 3, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
With Hosea Williams, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy.
This balcony is now open to the public.
I noticed several things about this film when we watched it recently. First and foremost was the importance of voting among the goals of the civil-rights movement. The violence associated with Selma resulted from the segregationists being genuinely afraid of black voters. It is a shame to see the Voting Rights Act being disregarded in 2016,and to see people opt not to vote.

I also could not help notice that secessionist flags (that is, confederate flags) were featured prominently by both the governor and ordinary thugs. Again, I am astonished to see these flags flying -- even in my northern town -- in 2016. It only means one thing at this point.

I also noticed the importance of broad coalitions and a focus on issues rather than party when trying to change the world. Gov. Wallace and President Johnson were, after all, members of the same political party at the time of their standoff in Selma!

Finally, I was reminded that many of these key events took place in my lifetime -- not all that long ago.

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