Jun 12th 2020
Novelist, playwright, poet and activist, James Baldwin sought out to examine the relationships between race, gender and class systems in mid-1900s America. Through his poignant and moving pieces of writing, Baldwin raised important questions and highlighted fundamental flaws found in the countless number of marginalized social groups within our country. Works and essay collections such as, Notes of a Native Son (1955), The Fire Next Time (1963), and The Devil Finds Work (1976) Delve into the inner-workings of The U.S.’s biggest marginalized groups and, in particular, helped galvanize the Civil Rights and Gay Liberation movements with an introspective insight of these issues. His fictional characters, often depicting young gay, black males like himself, faced the internal and external struggles of sexual identity, race and marginalization in their search for acceptance in a world far too often intolerant of their differences. Most recently, his unfinished manuscript Remember This House was further developed and eventually adapted as the award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, a moving and ever relevant examination of the history of racism in the United states. In a time when our country seems to be stuck in the same sort of chaotic tensions that Baldwin found himself in nearly 80 years ago and hundreds before him, his work and efforts remain a crucial piece of the essential manuscripts we need for progression as a human race.
My progress report
concerning my journey to the palace of wisdom
I lack certain indispensable aptitudes.
Furthermore, it appears
that I packed the wrong things.
— From Inventory / On Being 52
Baldwin, J. (n.d.). From: Inventory/On Being 52. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/articles/70095/playing-by-ear-praying-for-rain-the-poetry-of-james-baldwin