Buffalo students to view civil rights film 'Selma'
Some students from six Buffalo Public Schools will have the chance to see the movie Selma free of charge thanks to the generosity of three Common Council members. WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says the movie fits into the school district's curriculum and understanding of black history.
The film Selma portrays the civil rights battles of the 1965 march and Selma Voting Rights Campaign and the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Business leaders in several major U.S. cities joined an effort to allow students across the nation to see the film for free.
WBFO News has learned that Masten District lawmaker Demone Smith, University lawmaker Rasheed Wyatt and Council president Darius Pridgen are providing 40 tickets each.
"We'll provide transportation and then they will pay for the actual movie ticket," said Charles Brandy, Director of Social Studies for the Buffalo Public School district.
The six schools are in each of the council members districts. Twenty students from six schools will see Selma on January 22.
It was 50 years ago this February and March that the historic Selma events unfolded. Brandy noted that for decades, the city school district has been trying to created a black history curriculum.
"The Selma movie is aligned with that. This is actual what students have to know and be able to do. The key thing that this movie can highlight, even though it is dramatic, is the importance of primary and secondary resources," said Brandy.
"While it is great that students will get an opportunity to go and see the movie and that can start a conversation, but ongoing conversation is we need to be emphasizing African American history within the curriculum.
One initiative approved by the school board will be presented at the end of next month. 8th graders will be required to read an African-American book and the author will visit Buffalo to address students.
The school board is in the process of reviewing a draft of the African-American infusion program.