“I Am Selma”

by LDS



This is NOT about me. This IS about a movement!

I saw the movie two days ago and I wanted to wait before I posted anything here so that I would not spoil anyone else view before they saw it.

Movie critiques have a way of doing that.

While watching the movie it was as if I was watching my whole life unfold right before my own eyes.

As a young girl growing up in the days of Jim Crow, I marched, marched and marched some more at the young age of 17 years old.

I cannot begin to tell you the urge that came over me when I knew that it was something that I had to do.

No, not in Selma…..in Ga. (same difference).

As a little girl I remember going to Woolworth’s with my mother and aunts and asking why we could not sit at the counter to have an I cream sundae. They would hurriedly walk pass and tell me and my sisters not to look. I remember the COLORED/WHITE water fountain signs. I also remember drinking from the WHITE fountain just because.

I did not understand then my life could have been taken away or worse, my whole family could have been in danger.

I remember my older sisters and brothers sneaking out the house to go and join the sit-ins in downtown Athens, Ga. My mother would have never given them consent to do anything so dangerously. But secretly my father was very proud and protective of his children. Jim Crow would never take that away from him. I remember Charlene Hunter and David Holmes being the first Blacks attending the University of Ga. and how we were so afraid for them. I remember we were asked to pray for them every Sunday in church.

In the summer of my 17 years, you would think that the sit-ins and marching in the ’60’s,two Blacks attending UGA would have made everything peachy cream. Sadly, that did not happen.

I still felt racism. I still knew there were some parts of that little quaint college town we were not safe to venture in and out of.

My mother demanded that we go to the predominately white school when I was in middle school. I cried all summer long because meant that I would be separated from all the friends that I grew up with and things would even be different between us.

The movement happened one hot summer night when there was a meeting called at a local Black church to help get Blacks to sign up to vote in rural counties. We were young and fearless. I was 17 and there was a strong unity of Black college kids attending UGA now(more than two). And they were playing recordings of Malcolm X, The Last Poets, H. Rap Brown, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, many more in this little den they called, (fittingly so) “The Black House”.

They were responsible for my attending my first Nina Simone concert at UGA among other noted singers that I had only heard of on the Black radio station coming from Nashville, Tenn. as a child late at night.

So here I am caught up with all of this new found pride and awareness that no school or text book ever offered me.

I remember S.C.L.C. attending those meetings and later N.A.A.C.P. came to organized and strategized how we were going to do this marching thing. I remember walking for hours in the hot sun marching and singing in rural places in Ga. I had never been before. Somehow I knew when we were in a strong KKK county because the mood of the march changed very quickly.

I will never forget the hands of the first older man that I helped signed up to be able to vote for the first time in his town. We were always assigned with another older person because we were being trained. The older man was so nervous. His hands were shaking so much. But when he signed his name with an “X” he was so proud. So strong. So tall. It was an immediate visual transformation. There were many more gatherings, hot marches.

The pivotal point in my life is when the Black students who were attending the predominately all white high school felt their needs were not being met. No history books about our ancestors being taught. It was evident this integration was not fully embraced. They made it clear we would not be included, we were not welcome ( unless you played sports and brought them to championships).

Needless, to say “All hell broke lose.”

The National Guards were called. We were children. Water hoses were sprayed upon us. Dogs were unleashed upon us. We were put in jail. I was more afraid what would haven to my family that night than what would happen to me.

It has taken me my whole life to remember not to forgot. For years I could not watch movies that depicted those times because it all became so real and I would wake up not being able to sleep. If I had to chose my best scene, it would be the question Dr. MLK posed to the congregation. “Who Killed Jimmy Lee Jackson?” That is a question that we all need to answer even today.

The movie is remarkable! I felt so proud to have had that boldness, fearlessness, fight for justice in my DNA. I did not know nor did I care that my life could have ended then. I wanted to make it better for others.

When you are in a movement you become humble, unselfish, fearless, bold, caring, determine, resilient, kind, forgiving, hopeful.

Finally, you just love. To be love and to give love.

I Am Selma. But this is not about me…..

90 Responses to ““I Am Selma””

  1. 6 GGail
    January 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Jackie4Obama – congrats!!!!

  2. 7 GGail
    January 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Chips, thank you for front paging LDS’ words. We are all Selma

  3. January 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I so love your post, LDS. Thank you very much for sharing your perspective with all of us. XOXO.

  4. 9 jackiegrumbacher
    January 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Chips, thank you so much for dedicating this post to LDS’s moving testimony. And LDS, this came from your heart and has reached all of our hearts. I am so moved by your experiences and grateful to you for putting it into words and sharing with us.

      January 12, 2015 at 4:51 pm


  5. 11 ourmanflint
    January 12, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I always get teary-eyed when I read about, or see portrayed the harsh realities that our people has had to go through. My emotional response covers a range:- sadness, anger, hopefulness, and faith that we inch ever closer to finish line. But knowing that the finish , though closer, is still so far away. And that it will take a lot of hard work to get there. that it is never handed to us. but that we have to demand it and work for it.

  6. 13 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Congrats J4O on your Au ⭐
    Awesome Post Chips. Just fabulous.

  7. 14 MadameSoph
    January 12, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Chips, thank you for featuring this! I saw this on a previous thread while catching up this a.m. and wanted to thank LDS for sharing her story but I was so terribly late on the thread, I didn’t think she would see my comment.

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal story. I was so moved reading your words. You were there. You lived the before, during and after. The movie Selma should be shown in EVERY school. People like you who were there should be invited to visit classrooms of kids who are too young to remember, whose parents were too young to have been there, or whose families were oblivious, ignorant or unsympathetic because the shade of their skin meant that they never had to live through what you did.

    I am continually frustrated and dumbfounded at the number of young people, especially women and people of color, who shrug their shoulders and say voting doesn’t matter.

    Thank you LDS. Thank you for what you went through, what you did, what you shared. We have President Barack Obama, one of the greatest Presidents (very possibly the greatest) this country has had because of your effort, because you fought, because you made a difference.

    I know there are others here at TOD who were part of that struggle and others who continue to march on, and I thank you all!

  8. 15 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    😆 🙄 😆
    I had No Idea that there was a Huge Demand for Paul Ryan to run in 2016?
    Wow…..what a fool believes 😉
    Oh well, his staff are saying that he’s not RUNNING for the Office of the “President” in 2016. That is In_Deed Funny to me 😉

  9. 16 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Beautiful post, LDS!

  10. 17 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 4:56 pm

  11. 18 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm

  12. 23 sherijr
    January 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you LDS for sharing your inspiring… and inspired memories with us~

  13. January 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I love this post, LDS! Thank you, very inspiring!

  14. 25 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm

  15. January 12, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Good afternoon/evening TOD family. Thank you Chips for making LDS statement a diary for all to read. I am very proud to shout to the highest mountain tops, “WE ARE ALL SELMA” when those in power systematically disenfranchise peoples right to vote. When you don’t vote it means you are OK with the way elected people discriminate against you, take away your constitutional rights, and you fail the people who died for your right to vote. From the day I became eligible to vote I registered at 18 yrs old. NO one gave me a test, stood in my way, or even asked for my birth certificate. I filled out my registration papers in front of a department store at a mall in SoCal. I received and still have a letter from my representative congratulating me. I have never missed an important election although they are all important these days. Dudette you are so right….everyone should do everything they can to vote. It you can’t get to the polling place before or after work, vote absentee. In California you can drop it off at any polling place and now you can mail it a day or two before election day as long as it gets there three days after the election to be counted. There is NO excuse unless you live in a Red state who work to take your right to vote away. If you can afford a cell phone you can afford to pay for the proper information to get ID. If DEMS ever get the majority again they have to pass a law for universally accepted voter ID so repugnants can not pick and choose what is appropriate ID.

  16. 27 JER
    January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

  17. 28 EricFive
    January 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Excellent post LDS and thank you for sharing your experience. Folks who actually lived through the turbulent 1960’s are a national treasure and I love to hear your perspective of a time I only know through history class, independent research or conversations with my parents. This is yet another wonderful aspect to this blog, that this community is made up of people of different ages and experiences who are willing to share their perspective, experiences and ideas in this respectful and safe environment. Thank you again for sharing.

  18. 29 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    January 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Good evening, TOD! LDS, this is the fourth time I’ve read your essay; thank you for sharing such a marvelous reminiscence. I’m struck by the parallels is our lives; you in he south, me in the north. I look forward to seeing the movie later this week.

  19. 30 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    How is this possible? Seriously?

  20. 36 Nerdy Wonka
    January 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I thank you so much, LDS for your courage, bravery, strength, and determination. I thank you for everything you did to make some parts of life just a little bit better for people like me. I thank you for everything you sacrificed so that millions of us can enjoy a presidency with such a visionary as President Barack Obama. I thank you for the insults and hurt you endured so that people like me can stand up a little bit taller, face down hate, and continue to fight injustice because we know our worth. I thank you for the misery you endured so that people like me know that we come from strong stock. I thank you for your continued hope, your tireless spirit, and your humanity.

    I urge TODers and lurkers alike who have the funds, to go and watch this movie. You do yourself an injustice if you do not carve out 2 hours and 8 minutes of your life to view this brilliant masterpiece. The movie needs to be supported financially and with more eyes in every theater in this country and in countries where (hopefully) it is shown. Why? Because every conscience needs to be awakened and as Common so eloquently put it, “Selma is now.”

    I saw Selma in the morning and I thought the theater would be empty, but to my shock and pleasant surprise, it was not. Black, White, Asian, Latino, old, teenagers, children were present, some not for the first time, and it hit me then that this movie resonates with every human being who has seen it. It touched and sparked something within them that some had come back again, to watch it. I’ve never been in a screening room where not a single person moved until about ten minutes after the credits rolled. Everyone was rooted to his/her seat.

    That’s how powerful Selma is. Peoples faces, the emotions, said everything I needed to know about Selma.

    This was my review of the movie:

    If there is one movie, you, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, and your family should see, it is Selma.

    Run….Run…RUN to the movies and watch this masterpiece. Last year’s must watch movie was 12 Years A Slave. This year it is Selma.

    The first five minutes of the movie will take your breath away and make you sob for this country and for what Black people have suffered, toiled, fought, and died for.

    Bravo to Ava Duvernay (having a Black woman direct this movie was EVERYTHING. She told the story of Black people and what they have contributed to this country), David Oyelowo, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah, Carmen Ejogo, Wendell Pierce, André Holland and everyone affiliated with the movie. Stellar directing and acting. Stellar! They did not give in to pressure to white wash and praise people who didn’t deserve it. They did not cuddle anyone. They told the story of a movement. To the critics who don’t like a torch blowing away the darkness, to the critics who don’t appreciate unvarnished truth and want to hide what injustice was done and is still being done, well, tough titties.

    The fight to vote epitomized by Oprah’s Annie Lee Cooper who was rejected time and time and time again; who was denied the right to vote over and over again despite meeting all the racist requirements. The fact that voter suppression has come full circle in such an overt manner, with state after state seeking to actively deny millions what their parents, grandparents, etc. died for.

    The visual of the horror that occurred on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during Bloody Sunday leaves you weak when you are jolted into remembering that these are real people that these injustices were visited upon. Real people who just wanted to be treated as the equals they rightfully were and are.

    Selma shows us that it is not just one person but a movement that will save the soul of America. Selma shows you that you can take pride in the strides we’ve made and are continuing to make, but we must never rest. We must never be asleep, and we must keep on fighting because there are future generations who need us.

    The movie could not have been released at a more timely moment in history. The juxtaposition of real life and the movie are eerily chilling. The music (bravo to everyone, but especially Common and John Legend) – stay until the very end of the movie. Don’t leave. – The scenery, the people, the children, the pain, the rage, the death, the tears, the blood, the hate, the ability to forgive people who want you to burn to death just because of the color of your skin, and ultimately the hope that no matter the struggle, that one day we shall overcome.

    Selma is brave, necessary, needed, and amazing in every respect.

  21. January 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Dear LDS,

    What you have shared with us is a most special gift and I will cherish it and spread it to others.

    Thank you for your courage then, and now. You lived the truth of just how much one person can do and how important each of us follow your example, every day.

    Yes We Can

  22. 39 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  23. 40 a4alice
    January 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Oh LDS thank you so much for sharing this part of your life. My God you are a brave person. When people say “thank you for your service” I sometimes think it is just a thing for someone to say. I truly mean thank you for your service. thank you for doing this and thank you for telling us about it. I hope others read this.

  24. January 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Stuck, dangerously, in the past, just like Vlad ….

  25. January 12, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Perfect response ….

  26. 43 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm

  27. 44 purpleshoesla
    January 12, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you so very much for sharing your story LDS. When the movie the Butler came out a couple of years ago, I saw it with my stepdad (now in his early 70’s) who became very emotional during the counter sit-in scenes. After the movie, he shared with us (for the first time) that he had been part of a sit-in at a counter when he was going to college in Nashville. In reading your story, I feel the same emotions all over again, overwhelming pride and gratitude for doing your part to make the world I would grow up in just a little bit better; awe for your courage and fearlessness in the face of such ugliness and ignorance; and relief that you survived to tell your story now and inspire others to continue the fight.

    To paraphrase Common from his acceptance speech last night, your story has also awakened our humanity. Thank you.


  28. 45 susanne
    January 12, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    thank you for your powerful essay, lds.

  29. 46 carolyn
    January 12, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    LDS, I have no depth of words to express my appreciation of what you went through and had the courage to share with us. I definitely will see Selma. I lived through the era, but totally differently from what you experienced. I saw it on TV, and that was horrible, but I never experienced what you did. Thank you for sharing the pain and reality. I believe this movie is going to make a positive difference and bring some understanding to this country.

    A high school senior English teacher in our city is taking her class to see the film, and this is a basically all white school. The father of one of the students told me this, and he is thrilled the teacher is doing so.

    Blessings on you.

  30. January 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    LDS….I will never be able to thank you enough for your bravery and fight in order to blaze a better path for others.
    Your story touched me very deeply and I could feel it coming directly from your heart with no filters.
    We have come a long way in this country, but as is obvious there is still so much of the journey left to be traveled.
    Your bravery helped pave the way for me my children and all AA people in this country and that includes our
    wonderful President of the United States. For this you have my heartfelt thanks.

      January 12, 2015 at 7:59 pm


  31. January 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    LDS, you wrote the most moving and beautiful remembrance and your insights, courage, and spirit flow right into my heart and mind. Thank you for making your experiences and memories into this gift to the world. So many moments and actions that you shared. I especially treasure your memory of helping an elderly gentleman register, helping him steady his hand? A day that many white people sought to keep from happening, but you helped it happen with your direct actions, and then you took the time to stand by him and support him in realizing his dream. I am in awe at all that is in your words, and all that your words represent. When you say toward the end of your eloquent essay : “…I wanted to make it better for others.” You did so then, and you are still doing so now, with your words here, by sharing your story of that time with the world, now.

  32. 50 JER
    January 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm

  33. 51 JER
    January 12, 2015 at 7:38 pm

  34. January 12, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    A big thanks to Coach Popovich in joining the First Lady today to talk about Joining Forces, helping our military families. Thanks Coach Pop.

  35. 56 JER
    January 12, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    President Barack Obama holds a jersey given to him by the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.

  36. January 12, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    It must be a slow news day…for the last 12 hours, CNN online LEAD story has been a version of “Obama blew it on the Paris rally”. Seriously, a solid 12 hours. What the hell?

    • January 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      This is so laughable. Who cares? These haters aren’t even making sense anymore. A photo op is breaking news? Let’s not talk at all about what POTUS is DOING about the terrorism issue there. Nope, that’s apparently unimportant. I wish that they could see how crazy they seem.

      • January 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm

        My take on why they need to keep this story going…

      • 60 nospin
        January 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm

        ” Who cares?”

        My husband called me to let me know he heard the same thing listening to the news on his way to work. My response was similar to yours but more indelicate. Mine was … who gives a shyte. lololol

    • 61 Nena20409
      January 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Has any US President ever been a participant in a Rally in a Foreign Nation?

    • January 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Yes. The hyenas will chew on it until they find the next faux outrage or identify the next fake scandal.

    • 64 theo67
      January 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Isn’t CNN the same station that talked about possible UFOs having abducted the other plane that went down last year? Nothing surprises me anymore. CNN is a piece of trash.

  37. 66 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm

  38. 67 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

  39. January 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Today in NYC.

  40. January 12, 2015 at 7:58 pm

  41. 70 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I am rooting for them this coming Sunday and to Win the Super Bowl. My 4 teams were not good this year.
    Seeing this, makes me 😉 cheer for the Hawks more.

    • January 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Nena20409, I’m pulling for Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson to beat the Packers, never have like the Packers, specially when Bret Frave was there.

  42. 72 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm

  43. 73 a4alice
    January 12, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    This has nothing to do with anything but I saw this go by on my timeline and it’s always nice to take a minute for a little bit of a divine moment.

  44. 76 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 8:07 pm

  45. January 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    LDS, thanks for sharing such a private recollection of childhood memories.

  46. 78 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm

  47. 79 jacquelineoboomer
    January 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    LDS – Read your personal story in all its glory when you first posted it, and read it again here. Thank you again for sharing it!

  48. 80 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm

  49. 81 Nena20409
    January 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm

  50. 82 Dudette
    January 12, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Squeeee! If true… 😀

    • January 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      1st person I thought of, Dudette, when Senator Boxer made her announcement last week 🙂

    • January 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Will she be running for Sen Boxer’s seat

    • 85 4morefor44
      January 12, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      whew! was hoping she would. she barely won her first statewide race, but dominated in the second, so she should do well statewide. could see her on a national stage in the future! she’s really great on the issues for the most part, and has interesting life influences:

      “Harris was born in Oakland, California. She is the daughter of an Indian mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan—a breast cancer specialist who emigrated from Chennai, India, to the United States in 1960[12]—and a Jamaican American father, Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris.[13] She has one younger sister, Maya, who is now married to Tony West, the Associate Attorney General of the United States.[14] The Harris sisters grew up in a household that combined Hindu and Baptist teachings.[15] They were raised in Berkeley, Oakland, and Montreal, where their mother took a position doing research at the Jewish General Hospital and teaching at McGill University.[16]”

      la times is saying that gavin newsom is already saying he’ll back harris. she will be an excellent replacement for boxer, maybe even better on a lot of issues.

  51. January 12, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Secret Services job is to keep our President safe, not please CNN.

  52. January 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Casey, a minority senator for the first time since taking office in 2007, disagrees with the president’s opposition to the project. Although Obama asked him not to, he broke Democratic ranks once before to vote to authorize the pipeline.

  53. January 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    LDS, I just want to add my thanks for your powerful testimony. Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it, and this country is prone to amnesia.

  54. 90 vcprezofan2
    January 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    This has been such a moving outpouring, LDS; I truly thank you for sharing from your heart! As I said when I first read this, I was, and am, particularly moved each time you told us, ‘I remember’. This repeated reminder that we still have those amongst us who **remember** has made me wonder if maybe SELMA will prove to be the catalyst that ignites the nationwide ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ process that some believe is so clearly needed for the nation to move forward in race relations. There must be others all over the country watching the movie, or reading of its impact, who are thinking “I remember” and who need to express what they remember. You speaking with such simple truth and profound emotion makes me feel a certain sense of urgency that for it to be most meaningful, a T & R process needs to get going before all those who actually ‘remember’ pass away. You are Selma, indeed, and though I understand it isn’t about you, it so very definitely is!

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