Paramount Home Entertainment is offering free rentals of Selma via digital platforms through the end of the month.
Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film chronicles the story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to secure equal voting rights in an event that forever altered history.
“55 years after the historic marches from Selma, as we witness the expression of decades of collective pain, we should reflect on Dr. King’s words: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'” read a Paramount statement. “We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation’s history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society. The key message of Selma is the importance of equality, dignity and justice for all people. Clearly, that message is as vital today as it was in 1965.”
Also this week, Warner Bros. made the feature film Just Mercy available for free to stream on digital platforms through the month of June in reaction to the outcry over the death of George Floyd. That film is about black attorney Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan), founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Ala. It co-stars Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.
Susskind’s long and intimate interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. originally aired on June 9, 1963. Restored by the Paley Center, this broadcast has not been seen in full since its original airing. Among the subjects discussed were the current state of the American Civil Rights Movement and the then recent events in Birmingham, Ala.
On that Sunday night in June, WPIX-TV (NY) cleared this extraordinary interview between Susskind (host of “Open End”) and King. “Open End” had recently been removed from the schedule of WNEW-TV because of the station’s management reluctance to air discussions regarding race relations in America. WPIX picked up the ball, and the rest, as they say, became history.
Susskind and King discussed the gamut of racial issues of the day, particularly King’s disappointment at the speed at which the Kennedy Administration was moving regarding Civil Rights legislation. The interview so rattled the White House that President Kennedy responded by going on national television to defend his Administration’s positions and to outline his push for what would later be the Civil and Voter’s rights Acts.
The interview was recorded two months before the civil rights leader delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.