Having spent the better part of the past few days reading the newly released collection of James Baldwin’s previously uncollected essays, I was moved to seek out what little video exists on the web that can attest to his brilliance, both as a writer/artist, and commentator on race. Sadly, there is not much. The documentary on his life, The Price of the Ticket, is not available to individuals, and is not on the web anywhere, except for a 4 minute, 30 second clip, which is here.
In the meantime though, I did find a few interesting pieces worth sharing.
First, this picture of Baldwin, in front of a statue of William Shakespeare. The look on Baldwin’s face speaks volumes I think.
Then, these two videos: the first, of Baldwin speaking in London in the late 60s, and the other, a documentary on racism in San Francisco, in which Baldwin plays a prominent part. The latter of these is especially interesting, given the way that white liberals so readily presume SF to be a progressive place of love and harmony. I highly recommend both of these. The last scene of the second video, “Take This Hammer,” includes possibly the most exquisite and on-point statements about race I have ever heard, anywhere at any time. I have posted the excerpt to that segment at the bottom, below the full video.