My father grew up in Selma, Alabama, and my extended family gathered there for Thanksgiving in 2014. There were about 100 of us at Thanksgiving dinner. Our family has very deep roots in Selma and in Gee’s Bend (famous for the quilts in the Smithsonian). My aunts and uncles marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and our family has driven across that bridge a thousand times.
It’s amazing. I have been to Selma dozens of times in my life, and it holds a place in my heart that is mostly centered around homemade food, firecrackers, cousins, gravel roads, trailer parks, poverty, and simplicity. Seeing it as an adult, I see the effects that the bad PR of racism had on the city. Selma is impoverished, lacking jobs, has a high violent crime rate, full of empty storefronts, and still segregated.
I wanted to interview SELMA director Ava DuVernay after hearing her speak at the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta, but I was unable to interview her, because…well…she’s a Golden Globe nominee and I am not Barbara Walters or Oprah…Alas, here are some photos from my trip of the REAL Selma.