onfiction book, published in 1963, compromising two previously published essays in letter form by James Baldwin. Together they constitute a powerful warning that violence would result if white America did not change its attitude and policies
toward black Americans and alter the conditions under which they were forced to live. The first, "My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation," attacks the idea that blacks are inferior to whites and emphasizes the intrinsic dignity of black people. The second, "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind," recounts Baldwin's coming-of-age in Harlem, appraises the Black Muslim movement, and states his personal beliefs.