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In a recent op-ed, Joseph A. Califano Jr., a top aide for President Lyndon B. Johnson, found fault with how LBJ was portrayed in the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, “Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay.

In his Washington Post piece, Califano wrote:

The makers of the new movie “Selma” apparently just couldn’t resist taking dramatic, trumped-up license with a true story that didn’t need any embellishment to work as a big-screen historical drama. As a result, the film falsely portrays President Lyndon B. Johnson as being at odds with Martin Luther King Jr. and even using the FBI to discredit him, as only reluctantly being behind the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and as opposed to the Selma march itself.

Califano also stated in his opinion piece that “Selma was LBJ’s idea” and also said that the movie should be “ruled out” during award season., causing many involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s to cry foul.


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On Monday, Ambassador Andrew Young spoke with Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel about the true nature of the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as set the record straight about how LBJ was depicted in the movie “Selma.”

“Selma was Amelia Boynton’s idea,” said Young. “Amelia Boynton was a Black woman who went to Selma in 1929 with George Washington Carver; she registered to vote in 1932.” Young said that Boynton was a member of Delta Sigma Theta who “lead a march across the “Black Belt” to get Barack Obama elected in 2010 when she was 100-years-old.”

“This is the woman that nobody knows who came to see Martin Luther King, just before Christmas in 1964 and said, ‘You need to come and help us in Selma,’ and that is where the Selma movement started,” said Young.

Rock Newman, host of “The Rock Newman Show,” called the controversy over whose idea the march on Selma was the “tempest in the teapot” and said the debate over Selma takes away from the impact of the movie.

Newman said it was unfair for the discussion about the movie to be focused on this controversy.  He added, “Everyone should see this film. If White people would see it, they would see the insanity that is fostered with a sense of White supremacy and take some responsibility. If Black folks see it they would see the struggle and be inspired.”

Listen to Martin, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Lauren Victoria Burke and Rock Newman discuss the controversy surrounding MLK biopic “Selma.” in the audio clip below.

Be sure to listen to “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 7 a.m. EST and watch at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.