[16] Reflection on "I am Not your Negro"

(The James Baldwin texts used for the motion picture by Raoul Peck)


This blog entry is written by a 13 year old, my son Melchior. I hope you enjoy the read and provide him with comments to accompany his reading adventure and encourage him to reflect further. Enjoy!


I have read the book “I am not your negro” and I found it extremely well written. This book also meant alot to me growing up in today's world as a  coloured boy. I do see a lot of racism around me on the news and in books and reading about this topic made me very sad that so many young influential black people died so early. This book made me realise that in a way slavery was never really over. It also taught me a lot about James Baldwin and how amazing he is so I think we should talk more about him and study him in school. I strongly believe this book should be studied in schools.

One part of the book that struck me was when James Baldwin was describing the lives that average white rich families would live back in the 1960s, and there was a picture of a wife waiting for her husband to come back from work ; she was not sure what wine to get him. At the same time, black Americans were out there suffering, getting lynched.

Another part of the book that made me incredibly sad was photos of black girls finally going to school and people laughing and striking against them accessing an education. This made me sad because all the girls were trying to do was to learn.

One thing that Baldwin repeated a lot in the book was that he had no hate for white people and most black people did not have hate for white people, I found it incredible that after everything white people did to baldwin he still could not grow hateful. He watched his brothers die one after the other and still, no hate. Many people in today's world hold grudges for extremely long times and never forget and I was extremely influenced by James Baldwin's lesson of peace.

 Melchior Hughes engrossed in reading
Melchior Hughes engrossed in reading

 I also learnt that during this time there were too different approaches which were: Malcolm X's approach which was that the black communities should fight back and use violence if necessary, and Martin Luther King's which was to use peaceful methods to overcome oppression. Nowadays, in my opinion, people in power would often rather use war as a  solution than peace therefore I think people should take an example from leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

 Baldwin was in Paris and he saw oppression  happening via the newspapers. He hopped on a plane back to America because he knew he had to do something to help his country. That is extremely courageous. I believe most people would not want to go back and might just watch the suffering unfold but Baldwin decided he needed to take action!


After reading this book Baldwin is now a thinker I look up to as a human being and an author. I read his fabulous book in two days and once I was holding it I could not drop it.  



By Melchior Hughes, 13 years of age

20th of August 2019

Write a comment

Comments: 9
  • #1

    Estelle (Monday, 26 August 2019 09:59)

    Well done Melchior. I love the comment on peaceful leaders. I hope you will write some more!

  • #2

    Meredith Hancock (Monday, 26 August 2019 10:05)

    Melchior, your review shows much engagement and is sensitively written. The disparity between whites and blacks in the 60s is horrific and Baldwin's lack of bitterness is truly astonishing. Keep up the reading!

  • #3

    Êunice Lynch (Monday, 26 August 2019 12:11)

    Nicely written Melchior. Thank you for this great review of this book, you made me curious, so I will go and get me that book to read!! Thank you and excellent job!

  • #4

    Elena Mora (Monday, 26 August 2019 12:46)

    Well done, Melchior. Thanks for sharing your views on this book. Your comments are truly encouraging. I now want to read the book and watch the film! I'm an educator and sometimes I wonder if I am using the right tools in education when I still witness so many racist incidents and inequalities in our world. Your generation will manage to change this (I trust you!) and I think engaging in this kind of reading about the atrocities committed in the past is essential in order to avoid them happening again in the future. You give me hope. Let's not forget our history, the human history. Let's all remain human and united. Good job, Melchior!

  • #5

    Conrad Hughes (Tuesday, 27 August 2019 20:44)

    Good point about the courage needed to take action and how rate this is!

  • #6

    Maite Cortes (Saturday, 07 September 2019 19:44)

    Dear Melchior

    I could not agree more with everything you have written.

    Let`s not forget than racism still very much a thing of 2019. Tragically and unfortunately...

    "I think we should talk more about him and study him in school. I strongly believe this book should be studied in schools."

    Your clarity of mind and vision is remarkable. Ironic that you at 13 understand what is needed better than most educators our kids are exposed to.

    Keep up the good work, educating yourself and challenging the status quo.

  • #7

    Géraldine Freeman (Friday, 20 September 2019 16:31)

    Cher Melchior,
    J'ai moi aussi lu ce livre de Baldwin le printemps dernier (les grands esprits se rencontrent !), car Arthur l'avait pour son programme de matu en anglais. J'ai été saisie à la fois par les faits racontés, la portée du message et par la beauté de l'écriture. Comme toi, je crois qu'il n'y a que l'éducation au sens large, autant à l'école que dans les médias, qui puisse combattre la plaie du racisme et montrer à l'humanité qu'il n'y a rien de plus bête que de considérer autrui inférieur à cause de la couleur de sa peau... si ce n'est de le mépriser à cause de son sexe, de sa religion ou de son origine sociale.
    L'épisode que tu mentionnes, où des étudiantes noires se font huer et agresser parce qu'elles osent se présenter dans une école pour blancs, conformément à la nouvelle législation, est un des faits historiques les plus honteux de l'histoire des USA. Je te remercie de ta lecture intelligente et perspicace, et de m'avoir donné l'éclairage d'un jeune homme à cheval entre deux mondes.

  • #8

    Nino Oyalo, Botswana (Tuesday, 15 October 2019 04:33)

    Great piece of work. And Baldwin is a true human. Bon travail Melchior!

  • #9

    Mannie (Friday, 15 May 2020 16:05)

    Narrated by Samuel L Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro (2016) uses James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript to tell the horrific history of racism in America. Following the lives of three slain civil rights leaders, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr, Baldwin’s words still resonate today.

    Since the beginning, race has defined America, and racism permeates its politics to this day. To discuss the issue, Dr Richard Johnson, lecturer in US politics and international relations at Lancaster University, joins the podcast.

    Richard’s work examines the US's increasingly racially polarised politics. Richard draws parallels between contemporary America and the end of the post-Civil War Reconstruction.

    Richard believes we are living in the twilight of the ‘second reconstruction’ – an era that began with the civil rights movement. Are there signs that a ‘third reconstruction’ is dawning?

    Despite the election of Barack Obama in 2008 – the US’s first black president – the 2010s were a decade of increasing racial polarisation. But with white, working-class voters searching for an anti-establishment voice, could there be a glimmer of hope?


Estelle Hughes, l'auteure de ce blog est née au Cameroun, a grandi au Congo, étudié en France et travaillé en Inde, en Hollande, au Kenya, a Malte, en Espagne, en France et en Suisse.