[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention: “Raoul Peck: James Baldwin Was ‘Speaking Directly to Me’”.] On NPR’s Fresh Air (14 February 2017) Terry Gross interviewed director Raoul Peck on his recent documentary about James Baldwin. The audio link on NPR features a 1986 interview with Baldwin, followed by a recent conversation with Peck. Here is NPR’s description:
The late James Baldwin was one of the most influential African-American writers to emerge during the civil rights era. During the late 1950s and 1960s, he traveled through the South and addressed racial issues head on. In the course of his work, Baldwin got to know the civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X. He was devastated when each man was assassinated, and planned, later in life, to write a book about all three of them. Though Baldwin died in 1987 before that book could be written, the new Oscar-nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, draws on his notes for the book, as well as from other of Baldwin’s writings.
Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck, who directed I Am Not Your Negro, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that working on the film allowed him to learn more about an author who had influenced him greatly. “James Baldwin was one of the first authors ever where I felt not only at home, but he was speaking directly to me,” Peck says. “He gave me very early on the instruments I needed to understand and to even deconstruct the world around me.”