Three decades after his death, James Baldwin’s thoughts about race in America unfortunately still ring true, and while Baldwin took his last breath on Dec. 1, 1987 in France, his words are coming to the silver screen in a new documentary that he wrote titled I Am Not Your Negro.
Directed by Raoul Peck, the doc is the unfinished work of Baldwin’s last piece Remember This House. The manuscript, which was intended to examine the deaths of Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr., never saw the light of day. Yet Peck dove through Baldwin’s notes to create the stirring new film.
With Samuel L. Jackson acting as narrator, the film examines race relations today while using Baldwin’s words from decades past to accent the current climate. Archival footage of a young Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show open the trailer, along with images of police brutality all throughout history all the way to the uprisings that shook up the nation in Ferguson.
“If any white man in the world says ‘give me liberty or give me death,’ the entire world applauds. When a black man says exactly the same thing, he is judged a criminal and treated like one everything possible is done to make an example of this bad n****r so there won’t be anymore like him.”
I Am Not Your Negro premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews and will hit select theaters Feb. 3 Watch the trailer below.