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Oprah telling the story of the black woman who punched a sheriff

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Reported by Liku Zelleke

Media mogul, actress and TV personality Oprah Winfrey will be acting in a new movie: Ava DuVernay’s “Selma“.

The movie is about the civil-rights movement as it was in the mid-60s and particularly in the town of Selma, Alabama. At the time, the town’s black citizens were systematically being denied their rights to vote using methods that ranged from complicating the voting process to upfront intimidation and violence.

The town became the starting point for marches that were led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The brutality that the marchers endured was crucial in changing public opinion in the US against these southern laws.
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It finally led to the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in voting.

Oprah, who will also be producing the movie, will play the part of Annie Lee Cooper, a 54-year-old woman who punched the racist county sheriff, Jim Clark, when he stopped her from registering to vote. She was jailed for a brief time.

She will be joined by her “The Butler” co-star David Oyelowo who will be playing Dr. King. Carmen Ejogo will be playing Coretta Scott King. Tom Wilkinson plays President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuba Gooding Jr. is Fred Gray, Common is James Bevel, Wendell Pierce is Rev. Hosea Williams, Stephen James is John Lewis and Nigel Thatch plays Malcolm X.

In an interview after the death of Maya Angelou last month, Oprah said, “[Angelou] was so proud that I was doing this movie. And she said, ‘Take it baby. Take it all the way.’ She was part of the movement, worked with Martin Luther King, [and] understood what we were trying to do with this film.”

Oprah is an Oscar-nominee for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple“. She is also presently producing DreamWorks’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey” which is expected to be released in August.