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Directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb, released in U.S. theaters Jan. 8, 2015; PG-13

Thus far, moviegoers have been deprived of a feature film portraying the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Consider that gap in history now filled to the brim.

Selma, featuring David Oyelowo in the lead role, is a powerful movie that focuses on King’s campaign in early 1965 to snuff out the systematic oppression of black Americans and to pressure President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkenson) to speed up passage of the Voting Rights Act. King understands LBJ’s view that he has “bigger fish to fry” in Vietnam but insists that these issues need to be addressed.

He continues his campaign and leads voting-rights demonstrators in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. When they reach Edmund Pettus Bridge, they are met by state troopers on horseback armed with billy clubs.

White audiences watch in shock as the bludgeonings are broadcast on TVs across the country. They ask themselves, “How can Johnson send troops to Vietnam but not send any to Selma?”

Originally published in the April 2015 issue of Vietnam. To subscribe, click here.