Dr. King and Selma: A limited View

Authored by Emily Lacey

Images of microfilm from the Staten Island Advance article on Dr. Kings arrest in Selma 2/1/1965.

Article written by unsourced author from the Staten Island Advances February 1, 1965 issue on Dr. King and his arrest in Selma, Alabama


Microfilm was never something I had given any thought to throughout my research endeavors. So, when the opportunity arose to learn how to use it, and work with a collection of it, I was interested. Microfilm is interesting, in that during its prime it was an innovative way to house a large amount of materials. The New Dorp Library has an extensive collection of microfilm, every newspaper edition from the Staten Island Advance from 1964- 2008 is housed in filing cabinets, and reels of film for public use. The front page of a February 1, 1965 paper stood out to me, not because of the headline article, but because to the left with two small column was an article on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested in Selma. This little article, along with a follow up equally as short on page 9 was what the paper had representing this historic time.

Dr. King and Selma on February 1st 1965:

This article narrates what happened on February 1, 1965 in Alabama when Dr. King and his group of 300 tried to march to Selma. They were arrested half a block from their meeting location, under the charge of parading without a permit. The orders given by Wilson Baker, to local police. The article is sure to mention the quality of Baker’s voice on that day but lacks other significant details. Details like Dr. King was only held for 1 hour and released without any charges against him, yet was shortly arrested again for not leaving the scene per an officer’s orders. Nothing is noted of the fate of the other nonviolent protesters.

Additionally, the scope of the entire Selma movement is downplayed in this article. It mentions little of what happened before this arrest, and what was planned after. This with the placement and the size of this article shows the cultural differences between our current time and that of the sixties. The scope of the Selma movement was decided in the Southern Christian Leadership Convention. This group focused its efforts to register black voters in the south. Specifically Selma was chosen because only two percent of eligible black voters had successfully registered to vote before the Selma statement. Instead, it caused an uproar.

Vincentian Perspective:

Dr. Martin Luther King, is known for his non-violent protests and acts of human compassion.  In true Vincentian ways, Dr. King strove to provide support and basic rights for those who had no voice. In turn throughout his short life he spoke for all black people to gain their rights and in this instance he enforced the right to vote. He built himself up and used his good will to fight and support those lacking the basic rights a citizen of the United States is owed. Furthermore, he accomplished this in a nonviolent, and peaceful way which still leaves its mark on people 51 years later. Like Vincentians, Dr. King wanted a better world view, and harmony among people.

While this artifact does not give the whole picture of Dr. King, or those apart of his movement in Selma, they do tell us about the environment of the time and how media portrayed things 50 years ago. Like today, the media cannot be fully trusted as a sole source of information but it gives us a good picture of the past. Dr. King’s arrest in Selma produced two tiny sections in the only Newspaper exclusive to Staten Island.


Angel, Christine M. Information representation through the Vincentian lens of transparency: providing the under and misrepresented with a voice within our cultural heritage records. 2013. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VkY3xbRv1Ikuny5LApVmVWmSiZ81OTtUyJ6aSl_I3xo/edit

“King Institute Encyclopedia.” Accessed March 22, 2016. Retrieved from http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documents_contents.html.

Our Mission, St. John’s University, n.d. Accessed March 22 2016, Retrieved from http://www.stjohns.edu/about/our-mission

“Selma to Montgomery March (1965).” Accessed March 22, 2016. Retrieved from http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_selma_to_montgomery_march/.

“Selma to Montgomery March – Black History.” HISTORY.com. Accessed March 22, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/selma-montgomery-march.

“Timeline of the Selma Civil Rights Campaign.” UU World Magazine, May 1, 2001. Retrieved from http://www.uuworld.org/articles/timeline-the-selma-civil-rights-campaign.

Tribune, International Herald. “1965: Dr. King, 300 Negroes Arrested in Selma.” IHT Retrospective Blog, 1422805837. Retrieved from http://iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/1965-dr-king-300-negroes-arrested-in-selma/.