Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Lee Daniels' Richard Pryor Biopic Is Officially Ready to Go (Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Hudson) Lee Daniels' Richard Pryor Biopic Is Officially Ready to Go (Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Hudson) Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’ African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’ Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington "This Is a Relationship" - Watch Michael Ealy Frighten Sanaa Lathan in Tense First Clip From 'The Perfect Guy' "This Is a Relationship" - Watch Michael Ealy Frighten Sanaa Lathan in Tense First Clip From 'The Perfect Guy' Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series Watch: Trailer for Miniseries Based on Life of Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz (Coming This Fall) Watch: Trailer for Miniseries Based on Life of Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz (Coming This Fall) Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey' AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey'

Oprah Winfrey will Play Annie Lee Cooper in Ava DuVernay's 'Selma'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 11, 2014 at 12:06PM

A civil rights hero, who gained notoriety in 1965 for a confrontation with then Sheriff James G. Clark, outside a Selma courthouse, where she was attempting to register to vote.
20
Oprah Winfrey

With principal photography underway, Ava DuVernay's "Selma" cast continues to expand - this time adding Oprah Winfrey (who's also a producer on the film by the way).

Ms Winfrey will play Annie Lee Cooper, a civil rights hero, who gained notoriety in 1965 for a confrontation with then Sheriff James G. Clark, outside the Dallas County (in Selma) courthouse, where she was attempting to register to vote. The 54-year-old Cooper was ordered to go home by the Sheriff; according to reports I read, she claimed that he poked her in the back of the neck with either a billy club or a cattle prod, which prompted her to turn around and deliver a solid right hook to the sheriff’s jaw, dropping him to the ground. 

Deputies wrestled Cooper down on the ground, arrested her, charged her with assault, and attempted murder. Newspapers from the time said she was detained in jail for 11 hours. Sheriff’s deputies eventually released her because they were afraid Clark would come back in and beat her. 

As she sat in jail, Martin Luther King Jr. made a historic speech in Brown Chapel. Here’s what he said about Cooper: “This is what happened today: Mrs. Cooper was down in that line, and they haven’t told the press the truth about it. Mrs. Cooper wouldn’t have turned around and hit Sheriff Clark just to be hitting. And of course, as you know, we teach a philosophy of not retaliating and not hitting back, but the truth of the situation is that Mrs. Cooper, if she did anything, was provoked by Sheriff Clark. At that moment, he was engaging in some very ugly business-as-usual action. This is what brought about that scene there.” 

Cooper lived to see 100 years old. She passed away just 4 years ago actually, in 2010.

Oprah joins a cast that includes David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Ledisi as Mahalia Jackson, Keith Stanfield as Jimmie Lee Jackson, Henry G. Sanders playing Cager Lee, Jimmie Lee Jackson's grandfather, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash, Niecy Nash as play Richie Jean Jackson, wife of Dr. Sullivan Jackson, who will be played by Kent Faulcon, in a film produced by Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson (who won an Oscar for producing "Slumdog Millionaire"). 

Paramount Pictures is also on board the Pathe UK-backed project.

This article is related to: Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay


Shadow & ActNewsletter