Left to right: Giovanni Ribisi plays Lee White and Tom Wilkinson plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in SELMA, from Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films

Left to right: Giovanni Ribisi plays Lee White and Tom Wilkinson plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in SELMA, from Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films

*The critically-acclaimed movie “Selma,” about the 1965 civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, apparently gets some things wrong about Lyndon B. Johnson wrong, according to a leading historian of the 36th president.

Mark Updegrove, the director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, asserts that the film unfairly casts Johnson as a sort of composite character who represents all of the obstacles blacks faced in getting civil rights laws passed. But what history shows, Updegrove says, is that Johnson and King had a partnership.

king and johnson

He said Johnson and King had disagreements but not like the film suggests. Updegrove called the portrayal unfortunate given the current climate following the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.

“When racial tension is so high, it does no good to suggest that the president of the U.S. himself stood in the way of progress a half-century ago. It flies in the face of history.”

“Selma” is nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including best picture for a drama and best director.

In April, Updegrove and the LBJ Library commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with a summit that included appearances by four of the five living U.S. presidents. President Barack Obama closed out the event with a speech that lauded Johnson’s congressional deal-making and push for greater racial equality.