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President Barack Obama has attended the events celebrating the 50th anniversary of a landmark civil rights march in Selma, Alabama.

Barack Obama will deliver a speech to mark “Bloody Sunday” in March 1965, when security forces attacked demonstrators.

First Lady Michelle Obama and about 100 members of Congress are also due to attend.

Afterwards Barack and Michelle Obama will join marchers in a recreation of a walk on a bridge that was severely repressed.Selma march 1965

Police beat and used tear gas on demonstrators at the foot of Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965.

That event, and a march from Selma to Montgomery two weeks later, helped build momentum for approval of the Voting Rights Act by Congress later that year.

The legislation, pushed by President Lyndon Johnson, removed all barriers preventing African Americans from registering as voters.

President George W. Bush – who was in office between 2001 and 2009 – is also expected to take part in the commemorations.

Georgia congressman John Lewis, a Democrat who was among those injured in the violence 50 years ago, is also attending.

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Oscar-nominated movie Selma will be shown at the White House during a special screening hosted by President Barack Obama.

Selma depicts the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The movie is a contender for best picture at next month’s Academy Awards, alongside seven other films including Birdman, Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel.

Cast and crew, including director Ava DuVernay, are expected to attend the screening on January 16.

Selma picked up just two nominations for the Oscars, the second being a nomination for best original song, Glory, by John Legend and Common.

David Oyelowo missed out on a best actor citation, for his depiction of Martin Luther King, and Ava DuVernay failed to make the cut for best director.Selma White House screening

Had she been nominated, Ava DuVernay would have become the first African-American woman to be nominated in that category.

The Oscar nominations have come under fire from some commentators for their lack of diversity, after it was revealed that all 20 contenders for the acting categories were white.

However, the Academy’s first African-American woman president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, told New York Magazine‘s Vulture blog that the organization does not have a diversity problem “at all”.

Previous Oscar contenders to be shown at the White House include last year’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln in 2012, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.

The screening will take place in the 40-seat family cinema, part of Barack Obama’s private family quarters, according to Variety.

The first movie screened at the White House was in 1915, when Woodrow Wilson hosted a showing of Birth of a Nation.

The Obamas have also screened Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), starring Meryl Streep and He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), starring Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore.

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