Author: James Baldwin

James Baldwin Image

Raised in Harlem, New York, James Arthur Baldwin (1924–87) had a prolific career as an author, novelist, playwright, and social critic. His writing on the threshold of the Civil Rights Movement earned him a widespread following in America—among whites as well as blacks—for his lacerating accounts of black suffering and American injustice. He lived for much of his life as an expatriate in France, but took many long trips back to the United States to participate in and write about the Civil Rights Movement. Works include Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961), and The Fire Next Time (1963), among others. 

From Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin

In this title essay from his 1955 collection (written from France to which he had moved in 1948), James Baldwin (1924–87) interweaves the story of his response to his father’s death (in 1943) with reflections on black-white relations in America, and especially in the Harlem of his youth.

Stranger in the Village

James Baldwin

On the threshold of the Civil Rights Movement, author and social critic James Baldwin (1924–87) gained a widespread following in America—among whites as well as blacks—for his lacerating accounts of black suffering and American injustice. But Baldwin did more than rage. He also reflected deeply—and deeper than most commentators, then and now—on the relation between American blacks and the white Western world into which they have been forcibly inserted.