Roger Baldwin

roger baldwin

I met Roger Baldwin in the fall of 1965, he was eighty years old,. I was just 21 and a student at Inter American University in Puerto Rico. Roger was the keynote speaker at a week long symposium hosted by the university to explore labor and civil liberties issues in the Caribbean. 

Roger stayed with me at my off campus apartment during his visit.  From then until his death in 1981 we stayed in touch and whenever I had the opportunity I visited him in New York City.  I have many memories of this remarkable human being.  Perhaps the most vivid was his relentless curiosity. 

It was hard for Roger to talk about his life.  He had no time to talk about himself he was too curious about everyone else and the world.  As the director of the ACLU from 1920 to 1950 Roger was at the center of many of the defining civil liberties cases of the 20th century.  In addition to his work at the ACLU Roger was a supporter of a number of ‘left wing’ causes. 

He urged radicals and liberals to join together to fight militarism, racism, and poverty.  He was a passionate supporter of the United Nations and consulted with NGO’s working across the globe for human rights. 

In the fall of 1978 I had the chance to spend three weeks with Roger in New York and shoot the 16mm film from which this gentle tribute to a great patriot and world citizen was edited.  Roger was 93.