taking children to see selma movie history learning

A Few Things to do Before You Take the Kiddos to See the Movie Selma

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated, History/Social Studies

A Few Things to do Before You Take the Kiddos to See the Movie Selma

Are you and your family going to see the movie Selma this weekend (that is if you haven’t already)?

My sister says it’s good. A stamp of approval I can depend on.  Even if she hadn’t already seen Selma I knew it was definitely on our to-see list.
The kiddos are so lucky. I grew up on the many low-budget, soap opera-like, television movies featuring the lives of people like Martin Luther King and Jesse Owns. The kiddos, on the other hand, have had the privilege of getting to see HD movies, in the theater, with A+ acting, accurately depicting the lives of Jackie Robinson (42), the Tuskegee Airmen (Red Tails) and Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom). To them it’s normal.  Humph. Not even.
At any rate I am enjoying this new movie normal.  Hopefully it’s here to stay!  And you know it, before we partake of this oh so great movie we plan to take advantage of a little background reading and research on this historic event.


Happy Learning!



learning history movie selma

What was the march all about?

Here’s a great opportunity to discuss why grandma or granddaddy is so adamant about voting.  Have your tween/teen take this Louisiana literacy test.  After they take it, do they think they would have been granted the right to vote?



So how long was the march…really?

Have your teen take a look at this map. Discuss how long it would be from your house to….______.


View actual footage from the Selma March




And talk about how they feel when they look through actual photos.





history selma march elementary

If you plan to let your elementary schooler sit this one out, a book will work just as well in helping them to understand what the movie is all about.  Try checking one or both of these!

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow WearyGrades 4-6

The eerie silence was broken only by the sound of scuffling feet as marchers approached the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The mood was sober. Hundreds of men, women, and children had been protesting in Selma for weeks to win black Americans the right to vote. They’d been threatened. Been arrested. Jailed. This march was likely to end in violence, yet they went anyway. But when state troopers attacked with billy clubs and tear gas, the brute force was a shock. Many were injured, including children. But not even Bloody Sunday, as March 7 came to be known, was enough to deter the marchers.


Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story Grades 2-5

In Gee’s Bend, Alabama, Miz Pettway tells a young visitor about the historic role her mule played in the struggle for civil rights. Inspired by a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr., members of the community registered to vote, despite many challenges and threats. Later, two mules from Gee’s Bend pulled M.L.K.’s casket through the streets of Atlanta. This is a fictionalized version of actual events and includes factual information about the community of Gee’s Bend.


history march selma kindergarten

The little ones will have to skip Selma.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t read about the fight for civil rights.
Start a conversation about civil rights with this book, Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family—and thousands of others—in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.



Here’s to Closing the Achievement Gap!






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