In Ava DuVernay's acclaimed new film Selma, Martin Luther King Jr. works to forge an uneasy alliance with President Lyndon B. Johnson in order to constitutionally codify voting rights — a quest that the film portrays as a long and arduous one, since Johnson's initial reluctance to address the issue was what prompted King to stage his famous march from Selma to Montgomery. Over the weekend, DuVernay's film came under criticism from one of Johnson's top aides, Joseph A. Califano Jr., who wrote in the Washington Post, "Contrary to the portrait painted by Selma, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. were partners in this effort. Johnson was enthusiastic about voting rights and the president urged King to find a place like Selma and lead a major demonstration." DuVernay forcefully rebutted that notion on Twitter, calling Califano's claims "jaw-dropping and offensive," but in the meantime, you can check out her portrayal of the president in this exclusive early scene from Selma, which bowed strongly in limited release this past weekend and is well positioned to go far this awards season.
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