Tag Archives: LBJ

‘Selma,’ Pride and History in the Flesh: ‘He’s My Congressman’

Selma, John Lewis, Oscar, Oscars, snub, controversy, LBJ, MLK, Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson, Edmund Pettis Bridge, Bloody Sunday, movie, Atlanta, Civil Rights

John Lewis was the youngest of the Big Six leaders, just 25 when the events of ‘Selma’ took place. He is portrayed in the film by Stephan James, right.

Oscar snubs and LBJ controversy aside, the movie “Selma” brims with examples of undeniable greatness. We Atlantans have special interest and pride, perhaps, with our singular connection to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Era.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis is portrayed in the film as the brave and smart young man he was. He led that infamous Bloody Sunday march depicted in the film and almost paid with his life. Lewis has long been a hero for me and countless others here in Atlanta, known in the ’60s as The City Too Busy to Hate.

My friend Will Alford shared the following account on Facebook this week.

Selma, MLK, Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Bloody Sunday, Oscar, LBJ, controversy

Will Alford

Saw Selma last night…. In my trips from Atlanta to DC, I often see John Lewis and other congressmen in the airport and/or on flights. (I always take note of which ones accept the inevitable/eventual upgrade to first class that frequent fliers get). The best encounter was one time en route back to Atlanta — just a random week. After most of the plane had boarded, Rep. Lewis was making his way down the aisle to his seat in the back, and every single row stood as he passed in respect for him. Nobody else gets that kind of reaction. He was humble, sweet, patient… and spoke to every single person who reached out to him (like all politicians do). He seemed like some kind of holy man that day where everyone just wanted a touch. History in the flesh. I couldn’t stop myself from obnoxiously turning to my seatmate and bragging, “He’s my congressman.”

I’ve had the pleasure a few times myself, and it is a powerfully humbling experience just to meet Lewis. Thanks, Will, for letting me share your story.


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A Former Civil Rights Reporter Shares His Thoughts on ‘Selma’

My former newspaper colleague Walter Cumming shared his interview with his father, a former Newsweek reporter who covered the Civil Rights Movement. Walter spoke with his father about that era and then they went to see “Selma.” This is great stuff and I want to share it. Enjoy.

LIVE ART, Oeuvres nouveau, NEUE KUNST

Joe Cumming leaving theatre
Last Friday, I interviewed my Father about his experience in 1965 as a Newsweek reporter in Selma Alabama.
The next day, at my urging, we watched the Ava Duvarnay’s film “Selma”. Here is my follow up interview with him immediately after the viewing:
Me- “So Daddy, as a work of art, how was the movie to you?”
Joe- “Well see, I’m of a different generation. In truth, having been there, as you say, it was very dramatic. But this over did the drama from my point of view. But that doesn’t speak for a generation that would get a lot out of it.
There was no falsehood but that LBJ thing did give him a bad rap.”
Me- “You interviewed George Wallace right?”
Joe – “Oh yeah, I knew him real well…”
Me- “What did you think of his portrayal in the movie (by UK actor Tim Roth)?”
Joe-“I didn’t…

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