How historic events and our present understanding of these events, in this case the Civil Rights Movement, can be contested

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This assignment is designed to show how historic events and our present understanding of these
events, in this case the Civil Rights Movement, can be contested. For the assignment, you will
need to watch the movie, Selma (2014) directed by Ava DuVernay. It is available for streaming
from the Alkek Library website.
The film is a fictional portrayal of the campaign for African-American voting rights in Selma,
Alabama in 1965 led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Outside of the film’s cinematic merits, Selma
stirred some controversy over its historical accuracy. In particular, President Lyndon Johnson’s
top assistant for domestic affairs, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., felt the movie unfairly presented
Johnson as being at odds with Martin Luther King, Jr. Califano wrote a scathing attack on the
film that appeared in the December 26, 2014 issue of the Washington Post (this opinion piece
has been posted to the Canvas site for this course. File name: WashPostSelma).
After viewing the film, reading the Califano piece, and using what you learned on the Civil
Rights Movement in class, you are to develop a clear thesis statement expressing your own views
on the Johnson/Selma controversy and write a four to no longer than five-page paper defending
your thesis. The paper should be doubled spaced, using 12- point font and with margins of 1 inch
(top and bottom) and 1 or 1.25 inches on the sides.
Some possible questions to address in your paper are: How was the Civil Rights Movement
organized? What roles did the Kennedy and Johnson administrations play in the Civil Rights
Movement? How is the Civil Rights Movement presented in the movie Selma, by Califano, and
in class lectures? Are Califano or DuVernay biased sources? By citing specific events and
organizations, what gains were made by the Civil Rights Movement? What issues remained
unresolved by the Civil Rights Movement and are these issues with us today?
End your paper with a conclusion that provides your own thoughts on the Johnson/Selma
controversy and how the evidence you provide in your paper supports your thesis. You will not
be graded on your personal politics; however, all opinions need to be supported with evidence. If
you use additional sources they should be cited in a bibliography using MLA, Chicago, or
Turabian citation styles. Bibliography page will not count toward the 4-5 pages required.

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