Here in the USA, we have a holiday in January celebrating the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. He played a pivotal role in the fight for equal rights in this country. One hundred years after the American Civil War, the black community was still being denied their rights. The right to vote was given to them way before it was given to women (just after the civil war vs early 1900s) but they were still not allowed to register in certain areas of the American south. Local governments made it difficult with various tests and even poll taxes to be paid.
One of the things this meant was that this particular community wasn’t allowed to serve on juries since the jury pool was selected by the voter registration roles. So, all the juries were white and therefore there was no real jury of the peers of these disenfranchised voters.
One of the goals Mr. King set was to right this injustice and he wanted to do so in his non-violent way. Peaceable means to his goals was his watchword. I’ve read about this period in history. I was a very small child at the time so I have no personal recollection of it.
My son and I went to see the movie, “Selma” which tells the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery to try to enforce the voting rights. This movie was compelling and horrific at the same time. I cried through the majority of it and even had to cover my eyes a few times. The injustice, violence and cruelty of the bigots in this time was just astounding. I mean, I knew about how horrible some of the white people in authority were but this film made it real in a way that no reading of a history book could. They didn’t pull any punches- literally and figuratively. Go see it if you can but bring tissues.
The actor in the lead role was amazing. His speeches were stirring and very real. He had to be channeling the real man as he recited them. I also found it interesting that the two lead white characters, President Johnson and George Wallace, were played by British actors- I guess no American wanted to portray them. Can’t say I blame them there.
Happy MLK, Jr, day. Celebrate freedoms.