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I Am Not Your Negro Paperback – February 7, 2017
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“I Am Not Your Negro is a kaleidoscopic journey through the life and mind of James Baldwin, whose voice speaks even more powerfully today than it did 50 years ago. . . . He was the prose-poet of our injustice and inhumanity. . . . The times have caught up with his scalding eloquence.” —Variety
“A searing and topical indictment of racial prejudice and hatred in America that makes for uneasy viewing and is not easily forgotten. . . . Vividly intelligent.” —Hollywood Reporter
“A striking work of storytelling. . . . One of the best movies about the civil rights era ever made. . . . This might be the only movie about race relations that adequately explains—with sympathy—the root causes.” —The Guardian
“Thrilling. . . . A portrait of one man’s confrontation with a country that, murder by murder, as he once put it, ‘devastated my universe.’… One of the best movies you are likely to see this year.” —The New York Times
About the Author
JAMES BALDWIN (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, social critic, and the author of more than twenty books. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay collections Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time were bestsellers that made him an influential figure in the civil rights movement. Baldwin spent many years in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in 1987.
RAOUL PECK is a filmmaker acclaimed for his historical, political, and artistic work. Haitian-born, he grew up in Congo, France, Germany, and the United States. His body of work includes the films The Man by the Shore (Competition, Cannes 1993); Lumumba (Cannes 2000, HBO); and Sometimes in April (2005, HBO). He is currently chairman of the French national film school, La Fémis, and recently completed his next feature film, The Young Karl Marx (2017).
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This book is not a primer for people unfamiliar with Baldwin. It's a tribute to a project that Baldwin himself didn't live to see completed. I think it works best as a companion piece to the film rather than a stand-alone book. (For instance, it includes excerpts from transcripts of movies that influenced Baldwin or that Baldwin reviewed, and these work better in their original medium.) I recommend seeing the film first, and then using the book for meditating and revisiting afterward.
I'd still like to see the full manuscript of Baldwin's "Remember This House," in addition to the spliced up version used in this book. I would've liked if the book made it more clear where these particular excerpts are. It will be most successful if it points more and more readers to Baldwin's works.