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Reading List August 01, 2022

Remembering James Baldwin

Explore the ideas, influence, and legacy of this extraordinary American writer.

Few have inspired the Black Lives Matter movement as much as James Baldwin. His books that plumb the psychological depths of U.S. racism, notably Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time, speak to the present in ways that seem not only relevant but prophetic. But for scholars like Joseph Vogel, it is Baldwin’s “forgotten” work, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, that can guide BLM the most, particularly in its call for the media to stop turning Black death into a spectacle.

On what would have been his 96th birthday, we are revisiting our rich archive of essays on Baldwin. From his attempts to reconcile the generational divide between the civil rights movement and Black Power to his relationship with his younger brother, the pieces in today’s reading list explore the multiple sides of this extraordinary man.

 

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Robert L. Tsai

A new book explores how William F. Buckley, Jr., and James Baldwin came to share a stage in 1965 and what their debate over black inequality reveals about the modern conservative movement. 

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Joseph Vogel

James Baldwin’s book about the Atlanta child murders speaks best to the era of Black Lives Matter.

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Ed Pavlić

Fifty years ago, when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, a devastated James Baldwin made a final attempt to reconcile the generational divide between the civil rights movement and Black Power.

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Ed Pavlić

James Baldwin's letters to his brother

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