King, Heschel And ‘Selma’

King, Heschel And ‘Selma’

I read with interest the article on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
(“Keeping Their Eyes On The Prize?,” Jan. 23) by Doug Chandler. As for
the controversy surrounding the elimination of Abraham Joshua Heschel from
the film “Selma,” I wonder if Dr. King would have wanted Heschel omitted?

Can anyone seriously believe that Dr. King would have wanted Heschel’s
work erased, especially when that of other whites, including Unitarian activist Viola Liuzzo
and Unitarian Rev. James Reeb, was portrayed? Further, the film was shown free of charge in
numerous theaters throughout the metropolitan area on Martin Luther King Day.
It is likely that hundreds of youth of varied ethnicity, who were not alive in 1960, were introduced to the events of Selma through this film. Is it
better for these young people to know that a rabbi played an important role
in the march from Selma to Montgomery, or is it better that they grow up
ignorant of Heschel’s work and his close relationship with Dr. King?

Clearly, inclusion of Heschel in the film would have honored Dr. King’s
spirit, and given the youth of today a complete picture of what the march was
all about — namely, a fully integrated, inclusive electorate.


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