This March marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery, which eventually led President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Now, the highly anticipated film, "Selma," recounts the historic march. Oprah Winfrey, one of the film's producers, plays Annie Lee Cooper, who was repeatedly denied the right to vote, and David Oyelowo is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Thursday, "Selma" earned four Golden Globe nominations, including best actor in a drama for Oyelowo, best dramatic picture and best director. Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to be nominated in the latter category.
"I didn't want to do the role but Ava sent me a clip of a story about Annie Lee Cooper when she turned 100, and in the story, every day she watched 'The Oprah Show' at four o'clock and had a tuna fish sandwich. You can't resist that," Winfrey said on "CBS This Morning." "But also because of what she represents. All those people, ancestors who are part of my legacy, our legacy, that kept getting up and kept trying."
The film strings together a series of historical details, including the relationship between then-President Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, and the tale of everyday Americans who were willing to make sacrifices for progress and change.
"The thing about the film is you see the high price paid for the privileges we now enjoy, including the vote, that we really, really take for granted," Oyelowo said. "You see here that's just not something to be taken lightly.
Certainly now, the triumphant story of those who marched in Selma resonates. In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, demonstrators have joined together around the globe to protests injustices they say Americans still face.
"The parallels between Selma and Ferguson are indisputable. As I look at it, Ferguson felt like a black problem, once we went into Eric Garner, it became an American problem. You have the same thing with Selma," Oyelowo said. "Voting rights, denial of voting rights was a black problem. The minute we had Bloody Sunday, it became an American problem. We are in the same time in history."
While some might argue America's attitude toward civil rights has change dramatically since 1965, others would point to recent rulings regarding voter rights. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the provision that determined which states were required to have any changes to their voting laws pre-approved by the Justice Department's civil rights division or the D.C. federal court.
Furthermore, according to the Brennan Center, 13 states have passed more restrictive voter ID laws in the last three years.
"This very act that was passed, that was fought with blood, it was dismantled as of last year, the notion being that the country has changed enough that we no longer need the broken rights act," Oyelowo said. "One of the things the film does is you see the parallels two between Selma and Ferguson and you see the country hasn't changed enough, hasn't changed that much. The notion that we no longer need the voting rights act is, I think, is criminal."
Even as hardship struck the actors' personal lives, they journeyed through their work on the film. When Maya Angelou - the woman Winfrey called, "mentor-mother-sister-friend" - died, it was on Winfrey's first day of shooting. She was slated for a scene when Cooper would be denied her right to register vote. Despite the news that morning, Winfrey chose to perform.
"Ava said you don't have to shoot, you don't have to do it," she said. "I said I will use it and I will honor Maya and that walk."