When author James Baldwin died in 1987, he was writing a book reflecting on the assassinations of his three friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the turbulent 1960s. With Jackson’s narration drawing from this work, Peck draws a line from the Civil Rights era to the recent events in Ferguson, painting a sobering picture of America’s troubled relationship with race.
Jackson’s impassioned reading of Baldwin’s searing words brings back the damning eloquence of this acclaimed social critic, and his distinctive brand of provocative intellectualism. Peck uses archival news footage to great effect, and also gives us a glimpse at the man himself on popular talk shows and debates. After watching this forceful, Oscar-nominated work, you’ll wish James Baldwin hadn’t left us quite so soon.