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Viewing at Briggs Opera House Shines Light on Modern-Day Race Illusion

Mar 22, 2017 06:33PM ● Published by Linda Ditch

James Baldwin wanted to write a book about the lives and assassinations of three close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. However, he managed to complete only 30 pages by the time he died in 1987.

Filmmaker Raoul Peck continued Baldwin’s vision in his documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which the White River Indie Festival (WRIF) will screen on Saturday, March 25 at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. The film connects the Civil Rights Movement of the past to the creation of the present-day Black Lives Matter Movement.

The program for the evening was organized by WRIF board member Liz Blum, who is a Norwich resident and active in the Upper Valley chapter of Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). She answered a few questions about the film.


Q: Why did you select this movie?

A: I was amazed by this film. In this era of white supremacy, this film is the best I’ve seen that describes white supremacy and its effects on all of us. It illustrates how we are all trapped by the illusion of race. 

In addition, it is a beautifully made film by Raoul Peck, who has used historical shots of the great James Baldwin and important historical moments. It is so important to remind us of James Baldwin and his life, writing, and prescience. Baldwin was one of America’s greatest writers of the 20th century. I think it is incumbent on all of us to look at ourselves and our role in society, so I think this film will enable us to do that.


Q: What do you hope viewers get from attending the movie?

A: I hope that the viewers will use the film to contemplate the message of the toxicity of white supremacy and how it is harming us, holding us back. The three panelists have all been involved in the Freedom Movement and will speak from personal experience. They will answer questions and be able to offer ideas for community involvement. I think the panel will offer an opportunity for a lively and frank discussion and address ways to move forward.

Although we live in one of the whitest areas of the country, we are not immune from racism, and most people are not really aware of it in their daily lives except through the news. This film affords the opportunity to think about the challenges of racism in the context of today’s world and specifically through the eyes of James Baldwin.

A speaker panel and discussion follows the March 25th screening. The guest speakers will be racial justice activist and zero-waste ambassador Olivia Lapierre; Professor Derrick E. White, Visiting Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and History at Dartmouth College; and Reverend John Gregory-Davis, co-pastor at Congregational (UCC) Church in Meriden, New Hampshire.


Additional Information

I Am Not Your Negro at the Opera House - start Mar 25 2017 0700PM

I Am Not Your Negro at the Opera House: Mar 25, 2017 07:00PM

Filmmaker Raoul Peck continued Baldwin’s vision in his documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which the White River Indie Festival (WRIF) will screen on Saturday, March 25 at the Briggs Opera H... Read More » 


Tickets are available at Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/i-am-not-your-negro-tickets-32517572936).





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