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Kirkland Community Conversation about “I Am Not Your Negro”

by March 2, 2021 0

On February 18, 2021, Kirkland Meaningful Movies hosted a lively discussion about the film “I Am Not Your Negro” – a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three close friends of James Baldwin: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  James Baldwin was writing a book about the deaths of his friends at the time of his death in 1987. He left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript.  Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.

Former King County Council-member Larry Gossett participated in the discussion and spoke about his experiences as a Black man; his reactions to the movie and his thoughts about the issues it raised.  The King County group was fortunate that Mr. Gossett, a lifelong Seattlelite, was able to participate. His personal experiences gave special insights into the film. As a Vista volunteer in Harlem, he was politicized and radicalized. He founded the Black Student Union on the University of Washington campus and was instrumental in bringing about the UW’s Educational Opportunity Program minority recruitment program. He received the first-ever degree in African American Studies. In the late 60’s he was described as “one of Seattle’s best known young black radicals”. A former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he worked as a community organizer in Seattle. He was elected to the King County Council in 1993 and served until 2019 (6 terms). During that time he struggled for many years to have King County re-named to honor Martin Luther King.


There was a lively discussion on the demographics of Kirkland and police actions taken, with some statistics shared by Karen Studders from a presentation to the Kirkland City Council on September 12, 2020.  Some highlights of the performance of the Kirkland Police Department:

  • 1.2% of Kirkland residents are Black
  • 13% of ‘unwanted subject’ calls to 911 are regarding Black people
  • 24% of resulting police reports are charging Black people
  • 19% of use of force reports are against Black people

If you are interested in the slides from this presentation please reply to this message and we will get you a copy.

Larry suggested we all support the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, which passed the US House but is waiting to be considered in the Senate.  You can register your support at this address:

Our discussion did not include HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, a bill introduced every Congress since 1989.  To learn more see these links:

Books and Films

Several books and films were mentioned during our discussion:

  • Judas and the Black Messiah (2021): A biographical drama of the life and murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.  Available soon on Netflix (DVD).
  • The First Rainbow Coalition (2020): Documentary of alliances formed in Chicago in 1969 between the Young Lords, the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots and others.  Available on PBS Passport or at this address:
  • Who Killed Malcolm X? (2020): Six-part series investigating the murder of Malcolm X and the complicity of law enforcement and others.  Also provides a better understanding of the evolution of Malcolm X’s ideologies and the context of his life.  Available on Netflix streaming.
  • The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein (2017): A history of the government’s support of racial segregation and its role in today’s cities.

Contacting Larry Gossett

Contact to be introduced to Mr. Gossett.

About Meaningful Movies in Kirkland

You can follow the Kirkland Meaningful Movies venue on the main site (, on Facebook ( or by subscribing to our newsletter.  To be added to our email list, send a message to and ask to be added to the ‘Meaningful Movies in Kirkland’ list for future announcements.  We are currently showing films or hosting discussions on the third Thursday of the month.  Our March film will be ‘I Am Evidence.’

Like all Meaningful Movies venues, we show movies and host discussions without cost to participate.  We do, however, have expenses – such as honorariums to our speakers and screening fees for many films.  If you wish to make a donation to support these events please send a check to:

308 4th Ave. S.
Kirkland, WA  98003

(Please add ‘For Meaningful Movies Kirkland’ to the memo field)

Meaningful Movies in Kirkland is run by a volunteer team headed by France Giddings with technical support by Dennis Barnes.  We are also supported by the Meaningful Movies Project, a collection of over 40 independent venues in Washington and California.  If you have any interest in joining our team please contact us at

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