Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change | Chicago Reader

Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change

This PBS documentary by Jayasri Hart focuses on the role of Catholic nuns, both white and black, in the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights marches of 1965. Hart rounds up a handful of these old women to watch and comment on news footage of those dark days; their narrative culminates in the familiar images of Bloody Sunday, when police beat and gassed marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the triumphant march to Montgomery two weeks later. That story may not need retelling, but an interesting coda focuses on longtime Selma mayor Joe Smitherman (“the white . . . male . . . leadership,” as one nun remembers him with disgust) and his 2000 electoral defeat to James Perkins Jr., who became the city's first black mayor. 57 min.

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