James Baldwin Essay

Words: 1908
Pages: 8

Gage Krakower
History 228: African American History
Dr. Jennifer Oast
MWF 2:00-2:50
February 10, 2012 James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin, a homosexual African-American novelist, was once quoted saying that the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. What it means is that society’s chief concern should be a person who has absolutely nothing to lose by always sticking to their beliefs, yet everything to gain. James Baldwin embodies that quote to the absolute fullest. Not only did he push the boundaries with his works in novels and articles on racial and sexual matters, but he also was a key component in the civil rights movement and that’s why James Baldwin was important in
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In 1957 Baldwin returned to the United States primarily because he had been touched by the image of a young female surviving a mob in an attempt to desegregate schools in North Carolina. Upon his return he took it upon himself to start writing about the movement and aligned himself with the likes of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1963 Baldwin did a tour of the South for CORE, where he would lecture to practically anyone who would give him the time of day. He never would sugar coat any of his speeches and his approach for getting his message out there was different then the likes of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Baldwin’s next work, a collection of short essays put into a novel, was called The Fire Next Time. One of the essays that were a part of the novel was called Down at the Cross. The essay revolved around the relationship between Christianity and the Black Muslim movement. This essay was so captivating and touching that it not only got published in two issues of The New Yorker newspaper, but it also grabbed Baldwin the cover of Time magazine in 1963. “In the United States today there is not another writer, black or white, who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South.” stated Times magazine. That same year on August 28th, 1963 Baldwin attended the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Although, initially he was supposed