Entertainment Studios acquires rights to ‘From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo’

Casting for the movie on white civil rights martyr Liuzzo will begin this year

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Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures of Allen Media Group has acquired the worldwide media rights to the biography of the only white woman acknowledged at the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, per Deadline.

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From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo will tell the story of the wife and mother of five who died due to her affiliation with the civil rights movement. She was shot and killed by three Ku Klux Klan members and an FBI informant for her involvement in the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches in 1965.

Senior executive and executive producer of Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios film and television content, Carolyn Folks, gained the global rights of the story and will serve as producer and executive producer alongside Allen.

Carolyn Folks and Tina Andrews. (Image: Allen Media Group/ES)

“Our passion for Viola Liuzzo’s story is unwavering,” Folks said. “We at Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures are committed to presenting Liuzzo’s extraordinary acts of courage and her impactful contribution to the civil rights movement and our history. Viola Liuzzo will not be a forgotten hero.”

Casting for From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo is set to begin this year.

Liuzzo’s reputation was tarnished by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. He categorized her as a mentally unstable woman and heroin addict who left her family behind to create trouble in the South. Part of Hoover’s motivation was to conceal the involvement of an FBI informant, Gary Thomas Rowe, who participated in her murder.

Liuzzo’s story will be told through the eyes of her best friend, Sarah Evans, a Black woman who introduced her to the movement and raised her five children after her death.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Liuzzo’s funeral which prompted President Lyndon Johnson to address civil rights legislation.

Liuzzo’s biography was written by author and historian Mary Stanton, while the screenplay was written by Tina Andrews of Why Do Fools Fall in Love.

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As previously reported by theGrio, the role Hoover played in trying to destroy the civil rights movement means his name may be removed from the FBI building.

In 2020, Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen introduced bill H.R. 7829 that would officially rename the building to the ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation Building.’ Additionally, Virginia congressman Gerry Connolly introduced H.R. 7865 that would establish the National Commission on Renaming the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters Building Act.

Now in 2021, there is a renewed call to take former FBI director Hoover’s name off the FBI building, named after him in 1972, months after his death. 

Hoover was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and during his time as head of the agency, among the controversies associated with his tenure, were the department’s investigations of King and other civil rights leaders.

Illinois congressman Bobby Rush tells theGrio that Hoover also oversaw the “state-sanctioned assassination of on an American citizen,” referring to Fred Hampton, who served as chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Congressman Rush, who was the founder of the Chicago chapter, is among the lawmakers calling for Hoover’s name to be taken down. 

Additional reporting by April Ryan

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