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

Baldwin grew up in poverty in Harlem. From 14 to 16 he was active as a preacher in a small revivalist church, a period he would write about in his semiautobiographical first and finest novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) and in the play The Amen
Watch the video
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
C-SPAN's Video Library: James Baldwin
(performed 1965), about a woman evangelist.

After high school he began a restless period of ill-paid jobs, self-study, and literary apprenticeship in New York City. Disgusted with America's racial injustice, he left in 1948 for Paris, where he lived in poverty for eight years, during which he wrote the essay collection Notes of a Native Son (1955) and his second novel, Giovanni's Room (1956), which dealt explicitly with homosexuality. After 1969 he divided his time between the south of France, New York, and New England.

In 1957 Baldwin became an active participant in the civil-rights struggle. A book of essays, Nobody Knows My Name (1961), explores black-white relations, a theme also central to his novel Another Country (1962). In the impassioned The Fire Next Time (1963), perhaps his most powerful civil-rights statement, he said that blacks and whites must come to terms with the past and make a future together or face destruction.
Works by James Baldwin
Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
The Amen Corner (play, 1965)
Notes of a Native Son (1955)
Giovanni's Room (1956)
Nobody Knows My Name (1961)
Another Country (1962)
The Fire Next Time (1963)
Blues for Mister Charlie (play, 1964)
Going to Meet the Man (1965)
Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968)
No Name in the Street (1972)
Baldwin's later works include the bitter play about racist oppression Blues for Mister Charlie (produced 1964), the story collection Going to Meet the Man (1965), the novel Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968), and the essay collection No Name in the Street (1972). Ranked with Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison as a spokesman for his generation of black writers, he has been acknowledged for his support and inspiration by such figures as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Amiri Baraka.

Web sites about James Baldwin
Wallace Bridge's James Arthur Baldwin
John Henrik Clarke Alienation of James Baldwin

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