It’s from a 1964 speech (The White Problem) collected in The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings. And is given this configuration by Raoul Peck in the film and book, I Am Not Your Negro compiled and edited from texts by James Baldwin:
In this country,
for a dangerously long time,
there have been two levels of experience.
One, to put it cruelly, can be summed up
in the images of Gary Cooper and Doris Day:
two of the most grotesque appeals
to innocence the world has ever seen.
And the other,
subterranean, indispensable, and denied,
can be summed up, let us say,
in the tone and the face of Ray Charles.
And there has never been any genuine confrontation
between these two levels of experience.
What was continuous prose gains a new energy and incision with the line breaks. In the best and most honest of receptions, it forces us to re-read the originating essay and its animating spirit that calls for the facing of truth in order to work through history, recognizing the price of transformation, in order to take the first awkward steps towards survival.
And so for day 1945