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Politics & Government
90.5 WESA's collection of stories on race, diversity, LGBT, gender and age-related stories.

Pittsburgh Public School Students See Selma Thanks to Donations

When she stepped out of the Waterworks Theater Thursday afternoon, Pittsburgh Student Achievement Center 8th grader Denay Clemons called the movie Selma “an awesome portrayal.”

Denay was among approximately five hundred students from several Pittsburgh schools who were taken to see the movie about the marches in Alabama that preceded the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“I only knew a little bit from school work and history but I learned a lot more about what happened actually like with conversation with the people who actually led the movement,” Denay said.

They attended as part of "Students for Selma," a fundraising effort created by local community groups to take Pittsburgh Public School students to see the film. Organizers hoped the movie would spur the students to become civically involved.

After the screening, volunteers handed out voter registration forms to students old-enough to vote.

Denay’s sister, 9th grader Daviona Clemons said the “Bloody Sunday” march was the most surprising part of the movie.

“The way the troops beat the black people. The old people and the young people. And some of the children that were there,” she said.

Twelfth grader William Wood said while he’s learned of Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy in school, he didn’t know many of the details of the Civil Rights movement that the movie brought to life.

“How he did it and what he did, what they had to go through to get the voting rights and stuff – they don’t tell you that in school. So this really like opened my mind to let me know how hard it really was for them back then,” he said.