Selma, Lord, Selma is a 1999 American film based on true events that happened in March 1965, known as Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The film tells the story through the eyes of an 11-year-old African-American girl named Sheyann Webb (Jurnee Smollett). It premiered as a television movie on ABC on January 17, 1999.
Sheyann Webb meets Martin Luther King, Jr. one day while playing outside with her friends. They are told that Dr. King has come to Selma, Alabama to help the Negro people get voting rights. Sheyann learns many things from Dr. King. He teaches her and her friend Rachel (Stephanie Zandra Peyton) that when asked, "Children, what do you want?" their answer should be "Freedom." He also teaches her that everyone deserves to be treated with fairness, regardless of the color of their skin, and that children also have a battle to fight. Sheyann wants to get involved and skips school to sneak into the meetings. One night a friend of Sheyann's named Jimmie Lee Jackson is killed. To draw attention to the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, it is decided that a 54-mile march to the state capital of Alabama will take place. Marchers will present a petition to Governor Wallace to protest that Negroes are not being treated fairly. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, a day that comes to be called Bloody Sunday, Sheyann and the other African American protesters march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge en route to Montgomery. Sheyann is the youngest person to attempt to march. In August, President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing literacy tests at polling stations.
- Mackenzie Astin - Jonathan Daniels
- Jurnee Smollett - Sheyann Webb
- Clifton Powell - Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Ella Joyce - Betty Webb
- Yolanda King - Miss Bright
- Elizabeth Omilami - Amelia Boynton
- Afemo Omilami - John Webb
- Brett Rice - Sheriff Pots
- Margo Moorer - Alice West
- Von Coulter - Tom West
- Laura-Shay Griffin - Sallie Parker
- Danny Nelson - Father Whitaker
- Faruq Jenkins - Willie
- Stephanie Zandra Peyton - Rachel West
- Zach Rogers - Jimmie Lee Jackson
- L. Warren Young - Hosea Williams
- Bob Banks - Reverend Reese
- Richard Reed - John Lewis
- Ebony Curry - Billy Vickers (CEO)
Selma, Lord, Selma is based on a book of the same name written in 1980 by Sheyann Webb, Rachel West and Frank Sikora. The full title is Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil-Rights Days. It was published by the University of Alabama Press in Tuscaloosa, AL. It is written in the style of memoirs by Sheyann and Rachel.
Selma, Lord, Selma was made into a movie. Walt Disney Pictures picked it up and on January 17, 1999, one day prior to the national holiday commemorating Dr. King's birthday, it was broadcast on the ABC television network. Dr. King's daughter Yolanda is featured in the film as Miss Bright, Sheyann's teacher who marches with Sheyann in the back of the march. Music composed by Stephen James Taylor, with vocals by Brides of the Wind.
Awards and nominationsEdit
In 1999, Cynthia Whitcomb, the author, was nominated for the Humanitas Prize. The category was Best 90 minute film. Selma, Lord, Selma did not win. The winner was NYPD Blue.
Selma, Lord, Selma also was nominated for an Image Award in 2000. The category was Outstanding Television Movie/Miniseries/Dramatic Special.
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