James Baldwin featured on The African American Literature Book Club Website

I had the honor and privilege of meeting James Baldwin back in the mid-1980s when he spoke at UNESCO in Paris France, and I was thrilled to see that The African American Literature Book Club (AALBC) recently produced a must see web page dedicated to the Harlem born writer.  The AALBC website features a comprehensive list of books written by James Baldwin, as well as several historic videos which show the many sides of this complex man as he expresses his views on many issues.  It made me go and grab my copy of “The Fire Next Time” and read it for the um-teenth time!  Watch the James Baldwin Mini-Bio video by A&E below.

James Baldwin: Born August 2, 1924 in Harlem, NY, Died December 1 1987, St. Paul-de-Vence, France

The first of nine children of Berdis (Jones) a clergyman and a factory worker, David (step-father), in Harlem, NY. Baldwin was a storefront preacher for three years starting at age 14.  His writing started as a way to escape his stern stepfather.  He attended Frederick Douglass Junior High School and DeWitt Clinton High School.

He graduated from high school in 1942 and moved to New Jersey to begin working as a railroad hand. In  1944 he moved to Greenwich Village where he met Richard Wright and began his first novel, In My Father’s House.   In 1953 he finished his important novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain which stands as a partially autobiographical account of his youth.  The following year he wrote the play, The Amen Corner and won the Guggenheim Fellowship.

During the 1960’s Baldwin returned to the United States and became politically active in support of civil rights.

Baldwin wrote novels, poetry, essays and a screenplay in the later years of his life. He died of stomach cancer at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France.


Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin

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One Response to James Baldwin featured on The African American Literature Book Club Website

  1. George says:

    One of the remarkable characteristics of James Baldwin was his ability to speak in complete sentences. Listen to him during live interviews, or in a question and answer period on TV, or in person. You will hear a human being speak in complete sentences. Who else does that, has does that? He was a fantastic individual just for that fact alone.

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