To compose his stunning documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck mined James Baldwin’s published and unpublished oeuvre, selecting passages from his books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Weaving these texts together, Peck brilliantly imagines the book that Baldwin never wrote. In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project have never been published before. Peck’s film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin’s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America.
I Am Not Your Negro Book Review
This little book was an attempt from Raoul Peck to gather different writings and interviews by James Baldwin, including his unfinished manuscript for “Remember This House“. Baldwin wanted to write about his three friends Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers and the story of their fight against racial discrimination in America.
Raoul Peck created a documentary – which this book was a companion for – in which he attempted to tell the story Baldwin was never able to finish. The story about race in America, and the fight for equality through the lives of these remarkable men.
Although a small book, it is, nevertheless, a very important one to read! Baldwin’s beautiful language makes one feel the pain, the challenges and the disappointments of the Negro in America! He shows their voices, thoughts, dreams and struggles in their pursuit of the American Dream. Sadly, Baldwin’s commentary on different aspects of life in America – Education, Movies, Opportunities… etc. – from the perspectives of the African-American community STILL hold true today.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, if “enjoyed” is the right word to use here. I only wish he would’ve finished his book. But the way Peck collected these different fragments of Baldwin’s thoughts and feelings was absolute perfection. After reading this, I felt he succeeded in giving us a glimpse of what Baldwin wanted to say.
The root of the black man’s hatred is rage,
and he does not so much hate white men
as simply wants them out of his way,
and, more than that,
out of his children’s way.
The root of the white man’s hatred is terror,Chapter 4, Page 60, Lines 5—13
a bottomless and nameless terror,
which focuses on this dread figure,
an entity which lives only in his mind.
Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism whish you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.Chapter 5, Page 89, Lines 9—12
You cannot lynch meChapter 5, Page 103, Lines 1—4
and keep me in the ghettos
wihtout becoming something monstrous yourselves.
And furthermore, you give me a terrifying advantage.
What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a “nigger” in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man. But if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need him. … If I’m no the nigger here and you invented him, you the white people invented him, then you’ve got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it is able to ask that question.Chapter 6, Pages 108—109