James Baldwin

Equality : Remembering James Baldwin for Black History Month

Photo Credits: Allan Warren

This Black History Month 2017, we’d like to honor the iconic gay author James Baldwin for his timeless contribution to literature and music. His legacy included a number of novels, poems, plays, and essays. He reportedly also wrote several songs for Ray Charles.

Baldwin is known as a fearless and highly insightful author having explored and written about topics such as race and racism, sex, same-sex relationships, and social class that were regarded as taboo and controversial during his time. His novel Giovanni’s Room (1956), which tells the story of an American man and his relationships with other men—Giovanni, whom he met in Paris in particular—is a great example of those works.

His novel Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) made it to Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century at number 39 while his essay collection Notes of a Native Son (1955) landed on the 19th spot of their 100 best nonfiction list.

James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York to Emma Jones, a young single mother; but Baldwin lived most of his life in France. He died from stomach cancer on December 1, 1987, at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France.

Incidentally, a documentary film titled I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017), which is based on Baldwin’s unfinished book Remember This House is currently showing on theaters. This unfinished book was supposed to chronicle the life and death of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—all of whom were Baldwin’s friends.

Watch said documentary’s official trailer below. Want to watch the film? Check out the theater schedule here.

We will leave you with one of Baldwin’s perceptive and wise quotes:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

For the list of Baldwin’s complete works, click here. To know more about Black History Month and the event highlights for this year, click here.

Happy reading and watching!

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  1. Darryl

    At this pivotal time in our History, we see the same struggles being fought for now, as we’re then. The faces may be different, but none the less the struggle continues. We must be able to see clearly now, where our Country is heading with the Trump Administration. His reckless use of Political Power will force us all to wake up and smell that fowl stench in the air. If we don’t become active in our Political Discourse we will do a disservice to our Nation at large. We have been down this road before, and now we have to focus on making sure the rights for all Americans are protected. This is our Country, and we should fight to keep it that way, not only for us, but for the world. This movie should make us take a look at what went on back then, and it will give us a parallel as to what’s going on today. Don’t be fooled into thinking that things are going well, pay attention as to what’s being done behind the scenes in secret. That’s where we should be looking, the blatent misdirection that’s going on in the media. The alternative facts being reported which only makes real news seem fake. It’s all happening in real time, right before our eyes so let’s not pretend all is well. Keeping our leaders honest is our job, and it’s our responsibility to speak up, amd speak out.

  2. bjjj

    I like the idea of the movie “I am not your Negro”. Have only seen the previews but sounds quite interesting. James Baldwin must have been a very nice, intelligent man. After all what difference does it make whether a person is white, black, mixed, or any other color of skin or nationality. My best friend, lover, and person I care about very much is black and I am white. He is not my “black BF, and I am not his white BF. We know each other by our names. and the subject of our racial difference very rarely comes up. It’s sad that there is so much disrespect between people. The reason there is so much poverty among blacks and Hispanics, etc, was actually bought on by mainly the white race, in which I am not proud of. No one race or nationality is exclusive of the other. We are all part of God’s creation, evolution or what ever your beliefs. There again agree to disagree is in order. I know this movie/documentary came out some time ago, but hope it inspires a lot of thought.

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