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Equal TimeTelevision and the Civil Rights Movement$
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Aniko Bodroghkozy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036682

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036682.001.0001

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Selma in the “Glaring Light of Television”

Selma in the “Glaring Light of Television”

(p.115) Chapter 5 Selma in the “Glaring Light of Television”
Equal Time

Aniko Bodroghkozy

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines television news' reporting of the Selma campaign for voting rights that led directly to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Television cameras present on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday March 7, 1965, were able to capture the beating, gassing, and brutalizing suffered by voting rights demonstrators as they attempted to march to Montgomery. The uproar generated by that footage generated more support, volunteers, and moral clout for the civil rights movement. This chapter considers how one news program, The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, presented the Selma campaign as an ongoing nightly news story, with particular emphasis on its coverage of the campaign's three martyrs: Jimmie Lee Jackson, Rev. James Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo. It also discusses the response of white Selmians in the “glaring light of television” and the commentary in the African American press regarding the television coverage of the campaign.

Keywords:   television news, television coverage, Selma campaign, voting rights, Voting Rights Act, Montgomery, civil rights movement, CBS Evening News, Jimmie Lee Jackson, African American press

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