1924 August 2

Noted African American Author James Baldwin is Born


James Baldwin was an acclaimed African-American novelist and essayist. His most famous non-fiction work is the book, The Fire Next Time (1963), which first appeared in the New Yorker magazine, and which warned of rising African-American discontent and essentially predicted the urban riots that began the following summer of 1964. He is also noted for his first novel, the semi-autobiographical Go Tell it On the Mountain (1953).

Malcolm X gave a speech, “The Ballot or the Bullet” on April 3, 1964, which like Baldwin’s book The First Next Time,” prophetically anticipated the riots of the 1960s. White American leaders did not heed their warnings, but instead generally condemned them for racial rabble-rousing.

Watch a 1963 interview with James Baldwin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpRziHGxeEU

Read: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)

See the two great documentaries in Baldwin: I Am Not Your Negro (2017), and The Price of the Ticket (1989)

Learn more: David Leeming, James Baldwin: A Biography (1994)

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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