“I am Not Your Negro”

The Black Student Union collaborated with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs to show the “I Am Not Your Negro” documentary and host a discussion. Senior biology major Ashley Owens started off the night by introducing the film and discussion leaders: professor of political science Rosalyn Broussard, assistant professor of ethnic studies Dr. Frank King and assistant professor of English Dr. Phillip (Pip) Gordon. Senior media studies major Justin Toney discussed Ebony Weekend events, and then the documentary started.

The documentary began with a letter from James Baldwin written to Jay Acton on a project proposal, “Remember This House,” that remains unfinished. The documentary showed clips of past media coverage melded together with various speeches given by Baldwin and clips of current media coverage of issues and changes. In one of Baldwin’s speeches, he talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and the weight he put on himself with the crime, lies and hopes of the nation.

“I want these three lives to bang against and reveal each other, as in truth, they did and use their dreadful journey as a means of instructing the people whom they loved so much, who betrayed them, and for whom they gave their lives,” narrator Samuel L. Jackson said.

OMSA reached out to members on campus who would be able to facilitate discussion based off of the history of their backgrounds and topics they teach.

“I approached Frank [King], Rosalyn[Broussard] and … Dr. Pip, amazing faculty. It was supposed to only be a 25-minute discussion [but it] went much longer than that. I really enjoyed the discussion overall because it’s nice to be able to toss ideas about history and where our country is going into a discussion,” associate director of OMSA Kari Hill said.

Owens said that the movie was used to educate and give background to those students who may not have been familiar with Baldwin and his mission as part of the civil rights movement. This was also a way to generate conversation on campus.

“The dialogue of campus conversation would be one of continuing to find solutions to healing our country when it comes to race relations in America. I think James Baldwin who was one of those phenomenal leaders who did not get acknowledged for most of his work until his death,” OMSA advisor Jeremy Payne said.