SHEBOYGAN — The free Indie Lens Pop-Up series at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center continues on Thursday, January 4th with I Am Not Your Negro, a film by Raoul Peck.
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. With this film, Peck envisions the book Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a wealth of rich archival material.
Baldwin was a prolific writer and social critic widely considered one of the greatest North American writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Raised in Harlem, he left the U.S. for France at age 24, frustrated by the state of race relations in America and regular incidences of harassment.
I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond using archival and contemporary imagery including photos and clips from Hollywood film classics, documentaries, interviews, TV shows, and debates. By confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassinations of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the definition of what America stands for.
Every word in this film is Baldwin’s, as spoken by actor Samuel L. Jackson, from his books, essays, interviews, broadcasts, speeches, and films—words that come from another era but still resonate deeply today. The New York Times says of this film, “One of the best movies you are likely to see this year.” And NPR calls it “A fascinating and gorgeous and very powerful film.”
The film can be seen at 10 a.m. and at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 4, at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 608 New York Ave., Sheboygan. Screenings are free and open to the public. A facilitated community conversation follows each screening.
Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on the PBS series Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics to family and relationships. The Arts Center coproduces Indie Lens Pop-Up with Milwaukee Public Television.