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‘Selma’ Trailer: Martin Luther King Jr. Fights For Voting Rights In Alabama

The first trailer for Ava DuVernay’s Selma is here. Starring David Oyelowo as civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Selma tells the story of the Montgomery marches which led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Last year, in response to Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act that “prevented certain states with a history of discrimination from enacting changes to their voting process without permission from the federal government or a panel of judges.” Since then, voters in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina have reported facing difficulties in getting their ballot cast. In fact, within two hours of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Texas implemented voter identification laws, which has affected college students, the elderly, the poor, and new residents to the state. Mother Jones reports that “Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly moved a voting center that had one of the highest African American voter turnouts in the state to a new site that’s not near public transportation.”

Given all of these events and more, Selma comes at a pretty important time. The premise acts as a reminder of our history with voting rights and what people sacrificed to fight for those rights despite violent opposition. The trailer showcases this violence and how it highlighted the inequalities suffered by African-Americans.

Not only does the subject matter interest me, but I’m happy to see a woman director getting a lot of Oscar buzz for her feature film. It doesn’t look like your typical Oscar-bait historical drama, either. It feels much more exciting and electric.

Selma 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. Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the real 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 stars David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Common, Wendell Pierce, Lorraine Toussaint, Keith Stanfield, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Roth, and Oprah Winfrey. DuVernay co-wrote the script with Paul Webb.

Selma opens in select theaters on December 25, 2014 and goes nationwide on January 9, 2015.

selma poster