James Baldwin – I Am Not Your Negro

“Baldwin makes the point repeatedly that white violence against Blacks is just as prevalent in the North as the South.

The film includes footage of explosive debates in which Baldwin directly confronts white critics who chide him for being too bitter and too focused on race.

It also makes reference an argument Baldwin had with Bobby Kennedy over his unwillingness to use troops to escort a Black teenager (to prevent an angry mob of white adults from cursing, threatening, jeering and spitting on her) on her first day at an all white high school. Kennedy declined to send troops, dismissing the deployment as “an empty moral gesture.””

The Most Revolutionary Act

I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck (2016)

Film Review

This documentary is based on the unfinished manuscript of African American author James Baldwin’s book Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson (in the voice of Baldwin), the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as his personal observations of American history.

The film combines film footage of the Southern civil rights movement, the 1965 March on Washington, speeches by Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Baldwin himself, along with clips from various Hollywood films depicting a stereotyped view of Black/White relations.

In his unfinished book, Baldwin describes leaving the US in 1948 to live in Paris, seeking to escape a constant fear of racial violence that hampered his writing. He returned to…

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