- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Comments by Alabama officials who have seen the movie “Selma” and its portrayal of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march :

Gov. Robert Bentley, whose administration helped attract the movie company to Alabama: “It is very difficult to watch because of the remembrance of what happened 50 years ago. … The struggles that took place in that time changed America forever. It is our history. … It shows how far we’ve come, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”

State Sen. Hank Sanders, who helped start the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma and helps organize the annual march celebration called the Bridge Crossing Jubilee: “It is a very powerful movie, and it made the points well. It is a movie, not a documentary, and it had very powerful acting.”

Secretary of State Jim Bennett, who was a reporter in 1965 covering state officials’ efforts to stop the voting rights march and then appeared in the movie as an extra portraying a reporter: “It was good. I enjoyed it, and it brought back a lot of memories.” But he said he would agree with criticism that the movie contains a few historical inaccuracies, including how it portrays President Lyndon Johnson.

State Tourism Director Lee Sentell, who is using the movie and the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march to try to boost tourism: “People all over the world will see this film in the next four or five months. A lot of people are going to be intrigued about places where the events happened, and they are going to come experience learning about the civil rights movement in parts of Alabama and the rest of the South. … Because of this movie, Selma becomes one of the place names that stand for significant milestones in American history.”

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