James Baldwin bravely wrote from a unique vantage point as a Black man during a time where race, class and even sexuality were topics typically avoided in favor of comfort. In a new documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, new footage has been unearthed of the late writer speaking on his connection with a rapidly changing America.
Vulture exclusively reports:
James Baldwin spent the last years of his life working on Remember This House, a book about the lives and deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Baldwin died before finishing the project, but his words have found a new home in Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which mixes text from Baldwin’s manuscript (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson) with archival footage of the late author to present a portrait of blackness in America. In this exclusive clip from the film, Baldwin explores his own relationship with American history.
Baldwin’s work has enjoyed a resurgence in recent times and has been an especially influential figure to writers such as Toni Morrison and others. As a gay Black man during a time when homosexuality was demonized on levels incomparable to the slightly more tolerant climate in the 21st Century, Baldwin’s words carried unimaginable weight and distance.
His impactful works have been captured in well over a dozen of books and collections, including two 1998 works edited by Morrison for the Library of America, considered to be a source of Baldwin’s greatest writings.
Peck’s film enjoyed a limited release las year but will be widely released this coming Friday (Feb. 3). Watch the clip of the James Baldwin documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, below.
Photo: screen cap