In the 1970s, James Baldwin started working on a book about his three friends who had been martyred for the civil rights cause: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The book was never finished. The spectacular and burningly relevant new documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, threads the pieces of that elegy through a skein of dramatic footage.
I Am Not Your Negro is opening this weekin limited release, followed by a full roll-out in February. My review is at PopMatters:
An elliptical film, I Am Not Your Negro is partially a history of the Civil Rights struggle from 1955 to 1968, framed by these three men. It’s also an unpacking of Baldwin’s take on white America’s inability to come to terms with race and racism, with which it remains obsessed but also, of which it remains ignorant. There is anger aplenty in the film, but Baldwin’s observations indicate the confusion that might be inevitable in trying to understand the “vast, unthinking cruel white majority”…
The trailer is here.