I Am Not Your Negro

Synopsis: In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Raoul Peck
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 45 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.8
Metacritic:
95
Rotten Tomatoes:
98%
PG-13
Year:
2016
93 min
$7,120,626
Website
1,964 Views

1

Mr. Baldwin,

I'm sure you still

meet the remark that:

"What are the Negroes...

why aren't they optimistic?

Um... They say, "But

it's getting so much better.

There are negro mayors,

there are negroes

in all of sports."

There are negroes in politics.

They're even accorded

the ultimate accolade

of being in

television commercials now.

I'm glad you're smiling.

Is it at once getting

much better and still hopeless?

I don't think there's

much hope for it, you know,

to tell you the truth,

as long as people are using

this peculiar language.

It's not a question of

what happens to the Negro here,

or to the black man here,

that's a very vivid question

for me, you know,

but the real question is what's

going to happen to this country.

I have to repeat that.

You're damn right,

I've got the blues,

From my head

down to my shoes

You're damn right,

I've got the blues,

From my head

down to my shoes

I can't win

'Cause I don't have

a thing to lose

I stopped by

my daughter's house

You know I just want to

use the phone

I stopped by

my daughter's house

You know I just want to

use the phone

The summer has scarcely begun,

and I feel already

that it's almost over.

And I will be 55.

Yes, 55, in a month.

I am about to undertake

the journey.

And this is a journey,

to tell you the truth,

which I always knew

that I would have to make,

but had hoped, perhaps,

certainly had hoped,

not to have to make so soon.

I am saying that a journey

is called that

because you cannot know

what you will discover

on the journey,

what you will do

with what you find,

or what you find will do to you.

Not only have a right

to be free,

- we have a duty to be free.

- Yeah.

And so when you sit down on the bus

and you sit down in the front,

or sit down by a white person,

you are sitting there because

you have a duty to sit down,

not merely because

you have a right.

The time

of these lives and deaths,

from a public point of view,

is 1955,

when we first heard of Martin,

to 1968, when he was murdered.

Medgar was murdered

in the summer of 1963.

Malcolm was murdered in 1965.

Here, take my hand,

Precious Lord

Lead me on

Let me stand

I am tired

I'm weak

I am worn

Through the storm

The three men,

Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin,

were very different men.

Consider that Martin

was only 26 in 1955.

He took on his shoulders

the weight of the crimes,

and the lies,

and the hope of a nation.

I want these three lives

to bang against

and reveal each other,

as in truth, they did

and use their dreadful journey

as a means of

instructing the people

whom they loved so much,

who betrayed them,

and for whom

they gave their lives.

The moment a negro child

walks into the school,

every decent, self-respecting,

loving parent

should take his white child

out of that broken school.

Go back to your own school.

God forgives murder

and he forgives adultery.

But He is very angry

and He actually curses

all who do integrate.

That's when

I saw the photograph.

On every newspaper kiosk

on that wide, tree-shaped

boulevard in Paris,

were photographs

of 15-year-old Dorothy Counts

being reviled and spat upon

by the mob

as she was making her way

to school

in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There was unutterable pride,

tension and anguish

in that girl's face

as she approached

the halls of learning,

with history jeering

at her back.

It made me furious,

it filled me

with both hatred and pity.

And it made me ashamed.

Some one of us should have

been there with her!

But it was on that

bright afternoon

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James Baldwin

James Arthur "Jimmy" Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America. Some of Baldwin's essays are book-length, including The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Devil Finds Work (1976). An unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, was expanded and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award-nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration not only of African Americans, but also of gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals' quests for acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room, written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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