I Am Not Your Negro, Director – Raoul Peck


I saw this film on the same day that I saw Denial so I had a day of films about racism and how it is dealt with in our society. Both received well deserved long standing ovations from large audiences. I Am Not Your Negro however was a documentary based on the work of James Baldwin his contribution to the civil rights movement in the 60’s and his relationship with Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. It documents his reaction to their murders, and describes how he perceived his own role in the battles of the time. The director also explores the themes of the 60’s struggles with the current struggles and looks in depth at the ongoing racial struggles in the US. It is a complex film that deserves much reflection. I am not as familiar as I should be with James Baldwin’s writing and thinking and need to correct that deficit. I also want and need to see this film several more times to be sure I get a full understanding of the complexities. We had a chance for a Q and A with the director who is Haitian born. He took ten years to put this film together as he delved into archival footage and Baldwin’s own rich writing. Baldwin had proposed writing a book about the three leaders of the civil rights movement, their conflicts and friendships and their sacrifices. He never was able to complete this project himself but Peck decided his film could be the book Baldwin never wrote. I think he has succeeded and we should all see this film and come to grips with the racism of our society.