Tag Archives: Malcolm X

DARRYL PINCKNEY ON JAMES BALDWIN

Since Martin [Luther King]’s death, in Memphis, and that tremendous day in Atlanta, something has altered in me, something has gone away. Perhaps even more than the death itself, the manner of his death has forced me into a judgment concerning human life and human beings which I have always been reluctant to make—indeed, I can see that a great deal of what the knowledgeable would call my lifestyle is dictated by this reluctance. Incontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become. This is not very different from the act of faith demanded by all those marches and petitions while Martin was still alive. One could scarcely be deluded by Americans anymore, one scarcely dared expect anything from the great, vast, blank generality; and yet one was compelled to demand of Americans—and for their sakes, after all—a generosity, a clarity, and a nobility which they did not dream of demanding of themselves. Part of the error was irreducible, in that the marchers and petitioners were forced to suppose the existence of an entity which, when the chips were down, could not be located—i.e., there are no American people yet: but to this speculation (or desperate hope) we shall presently return. Perhaps, however, the moral of the story (and the hope of the world) lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. However that may be, the failure and the betrayal are in the record book forever, and sum up, and condemn, forever, those descendants of a barbarous Europe who arbitrarily and arrogantly reserve the right to call themselves Americans.

The mind is a strange and terrible vehicle, moving according to rigorous rules of its own; and my own mind, after I had left Atlanta, began to move backward in time, to places, people, and events I thought I had forgotten. Sorrow drove it there, I think, sorrow, and a certain kind of bewilderment, triggered, perhaps, by something which happened to me in connection with Martin’s funeral.

When Martin was murdered, I was based in Hollywood, working—working, in fact, on the screen version of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This was a difficult assignment, since I had known Malcolm, after all, crossed swords with him, worked with him, and held him in that great esteem which is not easily distinguishable, if it is distinguishable at all, from love. (The Hollywood gig did not work out because I did not wish to be a party to a second assassination: but we will also return to Hollywood, presently.)

Very shortly before his death, I had to appear with Martin at Carnegie Hall, in New York. Having been on the Coast so long, I had nothing suitable to wear for my Carnegie Hall gig, and so I rushed out, got a dark suit, got it fitted, and made my appearance. Something like two weeks later, I wore this same suit to Martin’s funeral; returned to Hollywood; presently, had to come East again, on business. I ran into Leonard Lyons one night, and I told him that I would never be able to wear that suit again. Leonard put this in his column. I went back to Hollywood.

Weeks later, either because of a Civil Rights obligation, or because of Columbia Pictures, I was back in New York. On my desk in New York were various messages—and it must be said that my sister, Gloria, who worked for me then, is extremely selective, not to say brutal, about the messages she leaves on my desk. I don’t see, simply, most of the messages I get. I couldn’t conceivably live with them. No one could—as Gloria knows. However, my best friend, black, when I had been in junior high school, when I was twelve or thirteen, had been calling and calling and calling. The guilt of the survivor is a real guilt—as I was now to discover. In a way that I may never be able to make real for my countrymen, or myself, the fact that I had “made it”—that is, had been seen on television, and at Sardi’s, could (presumably!) sign a check anywhere in the world, could, in short, for the length of an entrance, a dinner, or a drink, intimidate headwaiters by the use of a name which had not been mine when I was born and which love had compelled me to make my own–meant that I had betrayed the people who had produced me. Nothing could be more unutterably paradoxical: to have thrown in your lap what you never dreamed of getting, and, in sober, bitter truth, could never have dreamed of having, and that at the price of an assumed betrayal of your brothers and your sisters! One is always disproving the accusation in action as futile as it is inevitable. — James Baldwin, from No Name in the Street*

Join Darryl Pinckney for a “close reading of Baldwin’s beautiful, blistering memoir of the events that forged his consciousness of race and identity—growing up in Harlem, the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, his long residence in France, his fateful decision to retum to the American South”—presented by the Library of America.

READING JAMES BALDWIN NOW—DARRYL PINCKNEY ON NO NAME IN THE STREET

Thursday, July 16.

3 pm on the West Coast; 6 pm East Coast.

*James Baldwin, “Take Me to the Water,” in No Name in the Street (1972). Reprinted in James Baldwin: Collected Essays, selection by Toni Morrison (New York: Library of America, 1998), 357–359.

From top: James Baldwin and Joan Baez, Selma to Montgomery March, 1965; Baldwin (left), Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Baldwin in 1972 with No Name in the Street; Darryl Pinckney in London, 1991, photograph by Dominique Nabokov; Baldwin in the 1970s in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, photograph by Guy Le Querrec. Images courtesy and © the photographers.

HOURIA BOUTELDJA

“Why am I writing this book? Because I share Gramsci’s anxiety: ‘The old are dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.’ The fascist monster, born in the entrails of Western modernity.

“Of course, the West is not what it used to be. Hence my question: what can we offer white people in exchange for their decline and for the wars that will ensue? There is only one answer: peace. There is only one way: revolutionary love.” — Houria Bouteldja, from WHITES, JEWS, AND US

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“With her new book, the French-Algerian political activist launches a scathing critique of the European Left from an indigenous anti-colonial perspective, reflecting on Frantz Fanon’s political legacy, the republican pact, the Shoah, the creation of Israel, feminism, and the fate of postcolonial immigration in the West in the age of rising anti-immigrant populism.

“Drawing upon such prominent voices as James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Jean Genet, Bouteldja issues a polemical call for a militant anti-racism grounded in the concept of revolutionary love. Such love will not come without significant discomfort for whites, and without necessary provocation.

“She challenges widespread assumptions among the Left in the United States and Europe—that anti-Semitism plays any role in Arab–Israeli conflicts, for example, or that philo-Semitism doesn’t in itself embody an oppressive position; that feminism or postcolonialist theory is free of colonialism; that integrationalism is a solution rather than a problem; that humanism can be against racism when its very function is to support the political-ideological apparatus that Bouteldja names the ‘white immune system.’ ”*

Bouteldja serves as spokesperson for the Parti des Indigènes de la République.

Houria-Bouteldja

HOURIA BOUTELDJA

WHITES, JEWS, AND US – TOWARD A POLITICS OF REVOLUTIONARY LOVE

Forward by Cornel West

Translated by Rachel Valinsky (South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2018)

mitpress.mit.edu/whites-jews-and-us

Originally published in France in 2016 by La Fabrique Éditions.

See “We, Indigenous Women,” an excerpt from the book: e-flux.com/we-indigenous-women

Frantz Fanon (top), Houria Bouteldja. Image credit below: Semiotext(e).

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CARTIER-BRESSON AUCTION

Henri Cartier-Bresson was the greatest photographer of the twentieth century. His images are timeless. Putting this collection together has given so much joy and meaning to my life. I think and hope that through this auction a new generation of global collectors will experience the same joy and inspiration in their lives that I have. During my thirty-plus years of collecting and running a gallery, it has been my belief that there are ‘good’ photographers, and even some ‘great’ photographers, but Cartier-Bresson was and still is in a class of his own.” — Peter Fetterman, November 27, 2017

Over 120 works from Fetterman’s personal collection of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson are on view and will be up for auction at Phillips in New York.

“We are delighted to offer these spectacular images in our final auction of 2017. Peter Fetterman played a vital role in expanding Cartier-Bresson’s audience in the United States. A great deal of Cartier-Bresson’s works have become instantly recognizable, and in addition to those images, there are many photographs in Mr. Fetterman’s collection that have rarely been seen. These stunning images span over three decades of the artist’s career and were taken throughout his travels across the globe. They beautifully capture the aesthetic of the ‘decisive moment’ that defines his oeuvre.” — Vanessa Hallett, deputy chairman and worldwide head of photograph’s at Phillips

 

HENRI-CARTIER-BRESSON: THE EYE OF THE CENTURY—PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION OF PETER FETTERMAN

PUBLIC VIEWING, through December 11.

AUCTION, Tuesday, December 12, at 2 pm.

PHILLIPS, 450 Park Avenue, New York City.

phillips.com/auctions/auction/NY

Peter Fetterman is a collector and owner of the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica. See his personal tribute to Henri Cartier-Bresson, published in B & W magazine following the photographer’s death:

Fetterman on Henri Cartier Bresson

peterfetterman.com

culturedmag.com/the-eye-of-the-century

From top:

Malcolm X, 1961. © Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Truman Capote, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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Truman Capote, 1947 © Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TrumanCapotebyHenriCartier-Bresson1947

JAMES BALDWIN

“There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?), but they love the idea of being superior….Furthermore, I have met only a very few people—and most of these were not American—who had any real desire to be free….We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know.” — James Baldwin, “Down at the Cross,” from The Fire Next Time

 In the late 1970s, James Baldwin began work on a book about three of his friends who had been murdered: Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. Passages from this unfinished, unpublished manuscript, titled Remember This House, form the basis for I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck’s masterful, exhilarating documentary on Baldwin, American racism, and our threadbare construct of lies and amnesia implemented daily to forestall national self-immolation.

 

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

Now playing.

“Down at the Cross” was originally published as “Letter from a Region in My Mind” in the November 17, 1962 issue of The New Yorker, and is included in the Library of America edition James Baldwin—Collected Essays, edited by Toni Morrison.

Above image credit: Library of America.

Below: James Baldwin in France, 1970.