Two horrific episodes in the history of the American South bracket the story of Selma the movie. Within minutes of the opening, little girls at church in Birmingham are massacred by a bomb left in the church building which housed a black congregation. By the end of the movie, we witness the brutal beating of peaceful marchers by government forces.
In between these racist acts of violence, we witness the personal and organizational push to be able to exercise the right to vote. The organizational push is led by Martin Luther King, Jr.