Selma Movie Discussion Questions

Selma The Movie

selma-movie

I’ve seen Selma twice so far. It’s amazing that this is the first big screen movie on the Civil Rights Movement and on Dr. Martin Luther King. I love to engage dialogue as a way of processing. In watching the film I realized, I’m only one generation removed from Selma. My parents could have been one of the children in the film. I’m also reminded that my grandmother marched for voting rights in North Carolina. It was a huge risk for blacks to march. Each time they marched they placed their lives and their family in danger. Oh the bravery of those who have come before me. I sit in wonder would I have risked my life? Would I have marched? To see people of all races risk and join the fight for injustice, demonstrates the power of unity and oneness. Maybe your relatives didn’t march, maybe your relatives were on the other side of the injustice, the greater question is how do we continue to create brighter future for our children that involves racial unity. I believe we begin by educating all children so they’re aware of their history.

I’m reminded of a story a friend told me about her son. Her 6-year-old son came home sad, after school one day. As she asked questions about his sadness; he revealed he was upset because he wasn’t the leader. As she explained to her son, “Everyone will have the opportunity to lead, you need to wait your turn”. He stated, “No I can never be the leader”.  She was a little confused and asked more questions. He went on to say, John another 6-year-old said, “Brown people can’t lead”! What racial ideologies are we unknowingly communicating to our children in our private conversations? What barriers are we creating for the next generation that steals the hope of unity and racial reconciliation?

When others look back on History, I don’t want to appear oblivious to injustices. I want to do more than reap the benefits, I wish to be a part of the change. Wherever you are in the journey, if you’ve seen the movie it’s a start. Here are a few questions to assist you, in case you decide to take the movie discussion further.

Discussion Questions: Here are a few questions to guide you as you engage the conversation on race in America.

  1. Do any historical themes in the Selma movie parallel current American history in 2015?
  2. What was significant about the SCLC strategy? (“Negotiate. Demonstrate. Resist”) 
  3. What were the arguments for and against the non-violent movement?
  4. Why do you think many were blind to the fight, deaths, injustices and lawlessness in the South until aired on TV?
  5. It’s been 50 years since the Selma March. What does this march mean in 2015?
  6. How do private failures affect your public success?
  7. How do we make sure that our American History is not watered down in schools?
  8. Why is it important for all children to learn and understand the Civil Rights Movement as American History and not Black History?
  9. How can we ensure that stories like Selma are not lost? Can we still learn from Selma?
  10. What have you taught your child(ren)about the Civil Rights Movement?
  11. Why was the Church (Religious System) the center of many past movements for African-Americans?
  12. Why didn’t many Christians view Racism, Jim Crow and Segregation as Sin?
  13. Why did Dr. King call on Christians to join the fight in Selma?
  14. Why was it important for all Christians of all races to join the fight of injustice?
  15. Name to takeaways from the movie Selma?
  16. Have you done a great job standing up for injustices?
  17. Research the key activist from the movie.

 

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The Commitment Card: 

Each march volunteer was required to sign a Commitment Card before they marched:

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following Ten Commandments:

1. MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.
3. WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10. FOLLOW the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

Additional Resources: Selma Facts, Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton Robinson

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LBJ controversy in film addressed by Andrew Young 

4 comments

  1. April Mustian says:

    Thanks so much for blogging about viewing Selma and for providing some insightful discussion questions! I, too, ask myself if I would have been as brave as those who risked their lives during the Freedom Movement. I’d like to believe I would, but I just don’t know! It’s crazy that so many of Dr. King’s speeches still ring so true today, even in 2015. There’s much to continue fighting for! Selma should remind us all of that! Thanks, again!

    • Tasha says:

      There are no answers just discussion questions. Answers will vary upon a person’s perspective. The questions are to provoke discussion and dialogue. If you have any questions about anything and have seen the movie, you can email me and I will gladly assist you.

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