Reading James Baldwin


James Baldwin, center, in “I Am Not Your Negro.”Dan Budnik/Magnolia Pictures


This weekend I am going to watch Raoul Peck’s documentary “I am Not Your Negro” on race in America. The title stems from an unpublished work by James Baldwin, whose writings are weaved throughout the documentary and provide, from my understanding, the lens through which events are examined.



Baldwin is one of my favourite writers. His novel Another Country, one of my favourite books.  I’m not good at describing why a book moves me, so all I can say is that the writing is beautiful; the storytelling engaging. I opened the book to a random page to grab a quotation for this post and this is what I came across:

“She took each one of them by one arm and they stood together in the darkening window, staring out at the highway and the shining water. ‘What a great difference there is,’ she said, ‘between dreaming of something and dealing with it!'”





I would recommend any of his works (fiction or nonfiction), but if you are unfamiliar with his writing, you could start with this short essay “Stranger in the Village”.  Published in 1955, its themes of race, self-identity, and social identity still resonate today.

Note: you can watch “I Am Not Your Negro” on Amazon or iTunes.


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