Film Conjures Era That Some in Selma Would Rather Not Revisit

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tags: LBJ, MLK, Selma



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Like many residents here this summer, Josh Wilkerson eagerly signed up to be an extra in the film “Selma.” But when he was asked to play a member of the sheriff’s posse that beat civil rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he respectfully declined.

“I said, ‘This is my city, and that’s not in my heart,'” Mr. Wilkerson, 29, an office administrator, recalled recently. “I knew that would open doors that I’ve shut.”

Today, in this small city still struggling to emerge from the shadows of Jim Crow, the attack on the bridge on March 7, 1965, is incessantly rued, revisited and marketed as a tourist attraction. It was the dramatic apogee of the tense and violent period when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers took to the streets of Alabama to convince lawmakers of the need for a voting rights act. And it is the key moment in the film, which opens Thursday in a nation freshly embroiled in anguish about race and policing.




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