“Race” is an issue in America today because the history of the nation is closely associated with the history of slavery. This is in spite of the constitutional provision as enshrined in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. In recent times, the inconvenient truth about the actual state of race relations in America came to the force through the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the death of Tamir Rice among others.
However, James Baldwin in the documentary. “I am Not Your Negro” opens a can a worms like never before. The film was based on an unfinished manuscript written by Baldwin named “Remember This House”. The manuscript was based on Baldwin’s relationship with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medger Evers. Director Raoul Peck brought Baldwin’s words into visuals.
A statement that may be considered iconic reels out of Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be until it is faced.” The intense meaning of these words were like fangs clutching my flesh as I watched the film.
The documentary film’s director, Raoul Peck, included clips from famous moments in American film industry that made viewers to feel as if racism does not exist. Some of the clips were from as early as the 50’s. Films including famous actors like Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, and Billy Dee Williams found their clips spread throughout the film.
In the documentary it included the moment of Dorothy Counts, a 15-year-old high school student who was one of the first nine black high school students to enter a white school. Baldwin watched as white hate groups taunted the teen as she was escorted to class by the national security.
Throughout the film Peck went into the relationships Baldwin shared with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. Baldwin admired the different ways the three activist choose to fight for their Civil Rights. One particular moment that stood out for me was moment Baldwin gave a lecture and Malcolm X was sitting in the front row. Baldwin gave a huge smile as he expressed the feeling in the film.
The film overall was an eye opener. I feel that everyone should find a way to watch this amazing film.