I Am Not Your Negro

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Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck is among the most accomplished and consistently brilliant auteurs in the emerging arena of human rights cinema. In 2000 he directed the film Lumumba, about the Republic of Congo’s postwar independence movement, and five years later helmed the made-for-TV historical drama Sometimes in April, about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. These productions, in addition to documentaries and narrative features about his own homeland’s humanitarian crisis following the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and other cities in 2010, reveal Peck to be a chronicler of the collective pain that has become the world’s currency in recent years. His latest work takes viewers back to a place and time — the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s — that uncannily parallel the current state of race relations in this country. I Am Not Your Negro shuttles between past and present, showing how the words and ideas of America’s greatest midcentury poet-philosopher-social activist, James Baldwin, still reverberate in a world where the Black Lives Matter movement struggles for cultural recognition and political legitimacy. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, who reads passages from Baldwin’s personal memoirs and published notes, and incorporating clips from old Hollywood films trafficking in African American stereotypes, I Am Not Your Negro reveals how foundational he and other Civil Rights leaders (including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers, featured in archival scenes) are to contemporary efforts to heal the still-gaping wounds of this nation’s shameful past.

– By David Scott Diffrient


Raoul Peck
93 minutes


Friday, April 21
Lory Student Center Theatre

Q&A Guest:
Harry Belafonte

Closing Night Reception directly following the Q&A in the Lory Student Center Ballroom