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MLK Niece: Thumbs Up for 'Selma,' With Caveats

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 05:11 PM

A modern-day civil rights leader who is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. recommends the new movie, "Selma," dramatizing the struggle for racial equality waged by King and others, but says not to expect everything on screen to be factual because that's not how the movie business operates.

Alveda King, a minister and conservative activist who grew up in the civil rights movement, told "MidPoint" guest host Ric Blackwell on Newsmax TV Tuesday that "Selma" is historically relevant and entertaining, if "not totally historically accurate — but Hollywood generally never is."

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King said that she shares concerns voiced by former aides to President Lyndon Johnson that "Selma" depicts him as an obstacle to King's voting-rights push in the segregated South, instead of a partner and advocate.

"I was there," said King. "I lived during those days, I saw firsthand those accounts and was certainly involved as a girl. So I do have some concerns. But I say to anyone who views the film, then go back to your history books. Do your homework. I hope that it will just pique the interest of the viewers and that others will look.

"I always say that if you don't tell your story, somebody else will tell it for you," she said, adding, "I advise people not to just take that one movie and think that's it. Dig in."

King said that a lesson of the historic march on Selma, Ala., is the enduring value of nonviolence as an agent for producing social change.

"My dad, Rev. A.D. King — Martin Luther King's brother — was on the Selma Bridge," said King, who remembers her father talking about how brutally local police treated the marchers, who did not respond in kind.

"Daddy himself was beat on that bridge," she said. "So I know that nonviolent conflict resolution is the answer. It was their answer during those days … and that is what we need today."

King also discussed President Barack Obama's comments to NPR that race relations have improved since he took office, despite national unrest this year sparked by the deaths of black men in confrontations with white police officers.


"Racism still exists in America but there are many people of good will who want to eradicate that condition," said King, who noted that public protests this year haven't solely been about race and policing.

"During some of these demonstrations in New York and Ferguson and other places, we see people of every ethnic group out protesting, asking for fair access and fair equal rights," said King. "People need jobs and homes and good health care. Those are things that human beings need. Those are not racial needs."

In the wake of the protests, some of which turned destructive, and after the murders of two New York City police officers by a man claiming revenge for lost black lives, King said that she and her contemporaries are taking a message of non-violence to audiences across the country.

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"I keep reminding Rev. Sharpton — through the media, at least — blessed are the peacemakers," said King, alluding to the criticisms that another civil rights figure, Rev. Al Sharpton, has been an agitator and inciter in a year of discontent.

"So we want to have peaceful, thoughtful dialogue in all of these cities were violence is trying to erupt," said King. "I'm not a voice crying in the wilderness. I'm not alone. There are many leaders. … We're not alone, and we're asking people to join us in seeking peaceful conflict resolution."

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A modern-day civil rights leader who is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. recommends the new movie, "Selma," dramatizing the struggle for racial equality waged by King and others, but says not to expect everything on screen to be factual because that's not how the movie business operates.
selma, film, civil, rights, movement
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2014-11-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 05:11 PM
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