Preloading

How the Civil Rights Movement Created a New Political Awareness

They were children when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights marches of 1965 changed the world forever—and now, they have children of their own. They are the Selma High School class of 1971, and they have vivid memories of the turbulent period leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While Dr. King's movement altered the political consciousness of a nation, the people who lived through that trying time have partially failed to pass on their stories to the new generation, some of Selma, Ala., graduates say.

"It's exciting because I see in our children a determination to be engaged in the process and the voting process," says James Perkins Jr. "I think we're going to have to tell our stories more to our children. I think that is one thing that we're kind of failed in a lot of engagements in our community."

Watch as James and his classmates, including Chanette Thompson, Rose Wilkins and Joseph Smith, share their hopes for the future of civil engagement.

Interview facilitated by Joseph Smith and Charles Williams.

Hear more stories from people who were at the ground level of the civil rights marches.
Published 01/19/2015
More Videos
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'Demon Copperhead'
"The Seeds Remember the Land They Come From"
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'That Bird Has My Wings'
Darla Worries Ralph Angel Is Overworked
The Official Trailer: 'Queen Sugar's 7th and Final Season
Ashley and Darroll Talk About Their Early Days
How Did You Meet The Love Of Your Life?
How Long Did You Wait Until....
Kenric And Sonequa On How To Share Grief
Ray and Roslyn On Dealing With Cancer
Black Love's Final Season Trailer: For Better or for Worse
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'Finding Me' by Viola Davis
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'Nightcrawling' by Leila Mottley
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'The Way of Integrity' by Martha Beck
Tory and Precious Bond Over Their Mothers
Camille Meets Cornelius’ Ex
Tisia Takes Issue With Her Seating Arrangement
Aisha Opens Up About Her Miscarriages
Camille's Friends Call Her a 'Runaway Bride' Type
Donte and Kheri Try to Get Past Their Forced Connection
Mumen Opens Up About Her Daddy Issues
Nai'im Sees Red Flags in Camille
Sabrina Says Corey Has Zero Game
Singles Talk the Importance of Sex Before Marriage
Things Get a Bit Awkward Between Shawn and Sabrina's Friends
Tommy Tests the Contestants with Temptation
Ralph Angel Makes a Dangerous Decision
Aunt Vi Doesn't Hold Back with Darla
Micah Surprises His Favorite Professor
Nova Learns the Truth About Why Billie Left Town
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'Bewilderment' by Richard Powers
Davis Apologizes to the Bordelons
Violet Explains What She's Been Hiding from Hollywood
Prosper’s Daughter Is Furious With The Bordelons
First Look - OWN Spotlight: They Call Me Dad
Darla Wants Ralph Angel to Forgive Aunt Vi
Davis Hopes to Make Charley Happy
Exclusive: Breaking New Ground
This Season on 'Queen Sugar'
Oprah's New Book Club Pick: 'The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois'
David Has a Conversation with His Inner Child
David Opens Up to His Mom
Mx. Elijah Shares the Story of Her Garden
David Helps JG Search for Trenise
Mx. Elijah Confronts Gloria About Leaving The Ville
On the Next Chapter: 'Homecoming'
On the Next Chapter: 'Trouble the Water'
David Blows Up in Therapy
David Has a Breakthrough in Therapy
David Unpacks in Therapy