Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines the ethos of Black women in the film Selma (dir. Ava DuVernay, 2014). It argues that controversies, such as whether or not President Lyndon B. Johnson prioritized African American voting rights, can detract from the centrality of Black women's roles during that campaign. This claim correlates with Jennifer Fuller's critique that many popular culture civil rights films tend to romanticize the relationship between White and Black women. Such romanticizing not only leads to happily-ever-after endings in these films, but further fosters the assumption that structural racism is a relic of the past. Juxtaposing salient scenes from the film and historical details, I explore the agency of Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton, Annie Lee Cooper, Mahalia Jackson, Juanita Abernathy, and, principally, Coretta Scott King. This approach honors the spirits and biographies of these women as well as invites contemporary society to revisit the unfinished business of the civil rights movement.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4237
Print ISSN
1536-3155
Pages
pp. 184-194
Launched on MUSE
2019-05-31
Open Access
No
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