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Pride Highlight: James Baldwin

The Great James Baldwin(1924–1987) was a writer and civil rights activist who is best known for his semi-autobiographical novels and plays that center on race, politics, and sexuality. Some of his famous work included:

  • Go Tell It on the Mountain

  • Givoanni's Room

  • Notes of a Native Son

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

  • Lastly, Another Country

His honesty about his personal experiences in a national context challenged America to uphold the values it promised on equality and justice. Baldwin’s works also helped raise public awareness of racial and sexual oppression in America's society.

To escape from the racial discrimination he was facing, Baldwin decided to move to Paris in 1948. While being overseas, he was able to focus on his writing to create masterpieces to American literature. Baldwin was also involved in the Civil Rights Movement, becoming close friends with Medgar Evers, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, and Lorraine Hansberry. The influence for writing about race relations in America came from the deaths of his friends involved in the movement.

At the age of 63, James Baldwin died of stomach cancer in St. Paul de Vence, France at home. James Baldwin impacted society with his numerous essays, novels, plays, and public speeches, the eloquent voice of James Baldwin spoke of the pain and struggle of black Americans and the saving power of brotherhood.

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