Day 13 - First Steps: Speak
"You can't hide your voice, Mr. Joel."
Louise Little in One Day When I Was Lost
by James Baldwin, 1972
"You can veil your face, but you can’t hide your voice, Mr. Joel. I know every one of you."
(A rider laughs. His horse rears.)
Louise Litte in One Day When I Was Lost,
written by James Baldwin, 1972
I will tear off your veils, and save my people from your hands.
After the death of Malcolm X, Baldwin was commissioned to write a screenplay based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Baldwin eventually abandoned the film project, though the screenplay was published in 1972. In this scene, Baldwin portrays a story that X’s mother, Louise Little, told him of an evening when she was pregnant. A group of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders appeared at their house in Omaha, Nebraska, and demanded to see her husband, Earl Little, who happened to be away preaching in Milwaukee. She confronted those who threatened her family, calling them by name.
Speak up the next time you witness words or actions that are racist. This doesn't mean you have to be boisterous or overly confrontational - bystander intervention can take many different forms.
For six tips on how to interrupt racist attacks in public, watch this video from the Barnard Center for Research on Women: https://youtu.be/krgcbiRu0ys