January 19, 2015

Marching on Montgomery

Almost 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., participated in a historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to call attention to the ongoing fierce opposition to black voter registration, despite the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964.

My old friend Matthew's father, Stefan Sharff, and several of his film students, made a short film based on footage they shot during the march. Referred to as an intimate documentary, it is an interesting piece, about 17 minutes in length, that captures the tension of the time. The hovering helicopters and armed National Guardsmen create a sense of foreboding, a suggestion that violence may be imminent. At the same time, the marchers' constant movement forward reflects progress in the face of resistance, and the marchers' resolve and resiliency provides hope, one that is rewarded when they reach their destination, and MLK delivers his speech.

It is a compelling snapshot of America at a crossroads in early 1965, perhaps a month before I was born. It is now 50 years later, and while society has made great progress in many respects, we have barely moved an inch in others.

I urge you to watch Sharff's film, and ask yourself, how far along are we really, and how much further do we have to travel. It's a discussion we all ought to be having, although we never do. And so, here we are, so much further down the road, and yet right where we started many years ago.

1 comment:

  1. We are soldiers in the Lord's army and we have to continue the fight for justice. When we march together we get much done. It is time to pass the torch to the next generation to continue to fight for justice, equal rights, and mercy for all people. For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Therefore, this fight will live on in our children.