UCSB Santa Barbara Department of History logo

UCSB History Professors Comment on “Selma”

Prof Kalman remarks on portrayal of LBJ; others quoted in Jan. 2015 UCSB Current

Several critics of the recently released film Selma have remarked that the portrayal of President Johnson is skewed more negatively than his historical actions. Asked for her assessment of that aspect of the film, Prof. Kalman responded:

“I absolutely loved the movie, which I thought was very powerful, and have been recommending it to everyone interested in the 1960s.

“That said, of course I disagree with its portrayal of LBJ. Would it have taken so much away from the storyline to suggest that he was more sympathetic to King than the movie did or, at the very least, that he was not encouraging J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail him?

“Cartoons can get history right. I remain a huge fan of the 2002 PBS series, “Liberty’s Kids,” produced by Andy Heyward, for which Jack Rakove, the Pulitzer-Prize winning historian of the American Revolution, served as historical consultant. I am so impressed by how “Liberty’s Kids” does such a good job with the history of the Revolution, AND tells a story that will interest kids from the age of 4 and up AND their adult companions, AND features an impressively diverse slate of kid protagonists without seeming too heavily-handed politically correct. If cartoons can do such a good job with history, why can’t movies do a better one?”
(PBS Liberty! The American Revolution website and Wikipedia Liberty’s Kids page)

Other department members spoke to a staff writer for the UCSB Current about the film. Below are tag lines and a link to the full article.

‘We Must March’
UCSB History and Black Studies scholars discuss the historical accuracy — and importance — of the Oscar-nominated film ‘Selma’

By Andrea Estrada

“The film brilliantly captures the incredible risks the local residents and activists in Selma were taking in efforts to exercise basic citizenship rights,” said Alice O’Connor, professor of history at UCSB

“It’s unusual for Hollywood to produce a film that gets at the internal life of a social movement,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Professor in History at UCSB

Click the link below for the full article.

hm 1/18/15, 1/19/15