James Baldwin and Dick Gregory: “Baldwin’s Nigger” (1969)

“But what one does realize is that, when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here, when you do that, without knowing the result of it, you have attacked the entire power structure of the WESTERN world. If I one fine day I discover that I have been lied to all years of my life, and my mother and my father have been lied too, if I discovered that in fact, though I’ve was bred, and bought, and sold like a mule, though I never really was a mule, if I discover I was never really happy picking all that cotton and digging all those mines to make other people rich, and if I discover that those songs the Darkies sang and say were not just the innocent expressions of a primitive people, but extremely subtle and difficult, dangerous, and tragic expression about what it felt like to be in CHAINS….then by one’s present simply by the attempt to walk from here to there you’re going to frighten the white world.”

A 1969 conversation with writer James Baldwin and Dick Gregory in London about the black experience in America and how it relates to the Caribbean and Great Britain. Directed by Horace Ové.

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