34 pages 1 hour read

James Baldwin

I Am Not Your Negro

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2017

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Summary and Study Guide


I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck is an accompanying text to the 2016 documentary of the same name, directed by Peck. The documentary was released to critical acclaim. It won Best Documentary award at the BAFTA Film Awards and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The text is essentially a transcript of the film, incorporating excerpts of interviews, television features, and films.

I Am Not Your Negro is based on an unfinished book by Baldwin titled Remember This House in which he intended to explore American racism by focusing on the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X—three leaders in the American civil rights movement who Baldwin knew and loved. Baldwin never finished his manuscript, only leaving behind thirty pages of notes. Peck approached the project by attempting to construct a finished draft of Remember This House based on Baldwin’s notes and letters. The resulting text makes up I Am Not Your Negro.

This guide quotes and obscures Baldwin’s use of the n-word, the construction of which is one topic within his critique of racism in America.