By Kenton Rambsy
Last week, Stephen Becker and Chris Vognar invited me to participate on KERA News’s Art&Seek in a conversation about Raoul Peck’s film, I Am Not Your Negro. Peck’s documentary focused on James Baldwin’s would-be manuscript Remember this House about slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Even though Baldwin’s project would never be completed, Peck used the 30 pages left behind to create a compilation of the writer’s life and meditations on race in America.
The interview, The Big Screen: James Baldwin on Screen, served as a connective moment for me, taking me back to my time as a graduate student at the University of Kansas. Discussing the documentary brought back memories of those crucial, outside of classroom experiences and conversations that had a bearing on my development as a critical thinker regarding race as a PhD student.
In true grad-student fashion, I regularly met with friends also studying African American literature and Black Studies to discuss various writers like Baldwin. We would regularly pair our discussions with a “greatest hits” of videos we found on YouTube ranging from Baldwin's 1965 debate with William Buckley to his 1986 speech on social change and the writer’s responsibility.
Below, I have compiled a list of 10 videos on YouTube that feature James Baldwin. Like the movie, pairing these videos with readings by Baldwin helps to add another dimension to our understanding of his legacy.
• 1963: Living and Growing in a White World
• 1963: James Baldwin and Marlon Brando Interview after March On Washington
• 1963: Malcolm X - Debate with James Baldwin 1963
• 1963: James Baldwin on the Murder of Four Children from Birmingham, Alabama
• 1965: James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley
• 1968: James Baldwin and R.H. Darden in conversation
• 1969: Baldwin’s Nigger – James Baldwin and Dick Gregory
• 1984 James Baldwin Interview Hampshire College Archives and Special Collections
• 1986: James Baldwin Speaks! Social Change & The Writer's Responsibility
• 1987: Civil Rights - James Baldwin - Interview - Mavis on Four