James Baldwin’s name has dropped back into mainstream circulation with the release of the documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro”. Based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, “Remember This House”, the documentary recounts Baldwin’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and his specific relations with Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers.
James Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York and died in Saint Paul de Vence France. During his career (which spanned from the late 1940’s until his death in 1987) Baldwin published novels, poems, plays, and essays that countered the stronghold of white supremacy in America. He was a favorite among artists and influencers of the day, such as: Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Miles Davis and Ray Charles.
Raoul Peck is the director of “I Am Not Your Negro”. He is a Haitian-born (Congolese-raised) film director who also produced a feature on Patrice Lumumba and several well received documentaries and features. Peck’s cinematic mold of Baldwin’s words and memories has a timely message in America’s current violent and confusing political scene. Baldwin writes, “The history of the Negro in America is the history of America, and it is not a pretty story.” “I Am Not Your Negro” has been supported by a host of celebrities and was nominated for an Academy Award. The film is sure to make an impact on the current cultural scene in America and abroad.