What is the American Dream?

What is the American Dream?

1. Things to Consider Before Watching I Am Not Your Negro

question 1, What defines a “journey?” What’s the difference between a journey and a trip? Have you ever been on a journey?

question 2 , What is the American Dream?

2. Things to Consider After Watching I Am Not Your Negro

question 1. Throughout the film, there are moments where seemingly random visuals appear on screen. For instance, young co-eds running in the sun, beautiful pastorals and sunsets – at one point there is footage of a rocket going into outer space. Why do you think the filmmaker made this artistic choice? What might these different images represent in the context of this film?

question 2 How do the lives of Malcolm, Medgar, and Martin “bang against and reveal each other” in this film? What do the portrayals of these men reveal about the people who ‘loved and betrayed’ them?

question 3 What significance does Baldwin give to the historical image of black slaves “singing songs on the levee?” What does he mean when he says “They require a song to justify my captivity and to justify their own.”

3. Questions for Further Discussion

question 1 The film begins with Baldwin saying “a journey is called that because you cannot know what you will discover on the journey, what you will do with what you find, or what you find will do to you.” Explore the literary meaning of “journey” within the context of this film. What are some of the various literal and figurative journeys that are depicted in the film?

4. Extension Activitie: . The National Urban League has many programs to protect civil rights and fight racism in America’s cities. Check out their national and local initiatives and learn how to get involved here: http://iamempowered.com/programs-and-initiatives

question 1 After exploring the website, reflect on what you learned or discovered. What is the organization’s mission statement? What is their history/background? What role does the organization play in working toward freedom and justice for people of Afrikan descent?


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