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I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film Directed by Raoul Peck

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In his final years, one of America’s greatest writers envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project had never been published before acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck mined them to compose his Academy Award-nominated documentary.

“Thrilling…. A portrait of one man’s confrontation with a country that, murder by murder, as he once put it, ‘devastated my universe.’” —The New York Times


Peck weaves these texts together, brilliantly imagining the book that Baldwin never wrote with selected published and unpublished passages, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Peck’s film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin’s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America.

This edition contains more than 40 black-and-white images from the film.

ISBN-13: 9780525434696

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Publication Date: 02-07-2017

Pages: 144

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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).

Read an Excerpt

As concerns Malcolm and Martin,
I watched two men, coming from unimaginably different backgrounds,
whose positions, originally, were poles apart,
driven closer and closer together.

By the time each died, their positions had become virtually the same position.
It can be said, indeed, that Martin picked up Malcolm’s burden,
articulated the vision which Malcolm had begun to see,
and for which he paid with his life.
And that Malcolm was one of the people Martin saw on the mountaintop.

Medgar was too young to have seen this happen,though he hoped for it, and would not have been surprised;
but Medgar was murdered first.

I was older than Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin.
I was raised to believe that the eldest was supposed to be a model for the younger,
and was, of course, expected to die first.

Not one of these three lived to be forty.