Monday, January 19, 2015

Selma — the savage season

I have not seen the movie, Selma, but I remember the event on which the movie is based. The Civil Rights movement of the sixties was marked by being newsworthy. After all, citizens being beaten, gassed and firehosed because they asked for their Constitutional rights made for dramatic footage on television news programs.

Unfortunately for the beaters, gassers and firehosers, that footage went all around the world. It made a mockery of America and its self-righteous proclamations of freedom and “all men are created equal.” It also made the cops look like bullies with clubs attacking innocent people. It was an especially bad public relations image for the State of Alabama.

Life magazine for March 19, 1965, has the story of that event. I find the cover photo riveting; it is the peace just moments before the brutality. Knowing the history makes the image portentous.

Copyright © 1965 Time, Inc.

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