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Born: August 2, 1924 - New York, New York
Died: December 1, 1987 - Saint-Paul, France

Excerpt from Another Country

He was facing Seventh Avenue, at Times Square. It was past midnight and he had been sitting in the movies, in the top row of the balcony, since two o'clock in the afternoon. Twice he had been awakened by the violent accents of the Italian film, once the usher had awakened him, and twice he had been awakened by caterpillar fingers between his thighs. He was so tired, he had fallen so low, that he scarcely had the energy to be angry; nothing of his belonged to him anymore - you took the best, so why not take the rest? - but he had growled in his sleep and bared the white teeth in his dark face and crossed his legs. Then the balcony was nearly empty, the Italian film was approaching a climax; he stumbled down the endless stairs into the street. He was hungry, his mouth felt filthy. He realized too late, as he passed through the doors, that he wanted to urinate. And he was broke. And he had nowhere to go.

Link to the work

Teaching Topics in Social Studies
In 1943 James Baldwin's stepfather died the same day the HARLEM RIOTS broke out. These traumatic events prompted Baldwin to get out of his ill-paid job and begin writing. Much of his work centered on RACE RELATIONS,
Timeline
and he eventually became one of the most prominent intellectuals of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. His initial stance was that blacks should work for equality peacefully, but as time progressed his views became more MILITANT. He warned in The Fire Next Time that American race relations were in danger of reaching violent conclusions. Its publication coincided with the 1963 MARCH ON WASHINGTON and the hundredth anniversary of the EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, leading many to view him as a prophet.
 

Teaching Topics in Language Arts
James Baldwin started his writing career as an ESSAYIST, publishing his work in a variety of journals and periodicals.
Scavenger Hunt
What university did James Baldwin become a professor at in 1983?
. . . answer . . .
His first novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain was SEMI-AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. In Another County Baldwin uses a loose, EPISODIC STRUCTURE to trace graphic portrayals of the bisexual and interracial relations among the characters. These THEMES are common is many of Baldwin's work. He strove to make his AUDIENCES aware of the contradictions in American society, and encouraged them to be better.

Facts About James Baldwin and Another Country
  • As a child, Baldwin found reading an avenue of escape from poverty and insecurity
  • His first story was published in a church newspaper at the age of 12.
  • Celebrated black writer Richard Wright became a mentor and father figure to him
  • Becoming increasingly frustrated with racism in America, he moved to Paris in 1948 with $40 in his pocket
  • He refused to be categorized as a "Negro author" or "Gay author" but rather an American author


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