Jan. 14: ‘Selma’ film kicks off WSU MLK birthday events

By Steve Nakata, Administrative Services

Selma-Movie-Poster-webPULLMAN, Wash. – A free showing of the film “Selma” will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in the CUB auditorium to begin Washington State University’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

The movie is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. This year’s WSU MLK celebration theme is “Selma to Pullman: Honoring the Past, Creating the Future.”

Other planned events include:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Jan. 18
  • An exhibit of photos by James Barker, who traveled from Pullman to participate in the Selma marches. The exhibit opens on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in WSU’s Museum of Anthropology in College Hall, first floor. A reception is planned 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in the Terrell Library atrium.
  • The annual MLK Community Celebration, featuring hip hop artist and community activist Jasiri X, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in the CUB ballroom.

The film “Selma” earned four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Director and Best Actor; it won for Best Original Song. It also was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards.

“We chose this film because it’s an inspiring and powerful work that chronicles the violent struggle to secure equal voting rights as part of the larger Civil Rights Movement, but also because it is an excellent way to connect people with the WSU celebration’s theme,” said Jenne Schmidt, WSU diversity education program coordinator.

Leigh Gaskin, a graduate student in American studies, said films like “Selma” provide an opportunity for viewers to learn about new perspectives: “Often attendees report how films challenged their views and expanded their knowledge about social justice issues.”

The Selma marches were led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. The film stars David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Tim Roth as George Wallace, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King and rapper/actor Common as Bevel.

“Selma” premiered at the American Film Institute festival in November 2014 and was in theaters across the nation by Jan. 9, 2015, two months before the 50th anniversary of the marches.


Jenne Schmidt, WSU diversity education, 509-332-3186, jenne.schmidt@wsu.edu



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