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Baldwin, James

b. 1924 - d. 1987

James Baldwin was an American writer whose work dealt with race relations and sexuality. A native of Harlem, New York, he left the U.S. for France in 1948 to pursue a writing career away from American racism. While in Europe he published Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), his first novel, which catapulted him to literary fame. In 1957 he returned to the U.S. to lend his voice to the cause of civil rights. Baldwin dissected the American racial conundrum in fictional works and powerful essays, as well as in speaking engagements. He met Dr. King in 1957 when he was writing about the Civil Rights Movement for Harper’s magazine and attended the 1963 March on Washington. Although he did not always agree with Dr. King’s position on nonviolence,he retained a deep respect and admiration for him. Baldwin remains a much read, much studied writer of fiction and nonfiction.

Associated Archive Content : 12 results

If I were a Negro

Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum writes Dr. King to share an article he wrote in the "Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills Bulletin." The article references the expelling of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and criticizes the African American response towards his defense. The author states, "If I were a Negro I would not waste my time in defending Powell's wrong acts but would rather speak of the many good acts he performed." Rabbi Kirshblum goes on to praise the views of men like Dr. King and Rev. Roy Wilkins, while rejecting those of Stokely Carmichael.

Letter from Charlie Cheese Carsons to Rev. Andrew Young

Charlie Cheese Carsons addresses Rev. Andrew Young to provide him with a painting that expresses the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for human dignity. Mr. Carsons is aware that Dr. King's attention has more important concerns which explains his reasoning for contacting Rev. Young. In addition to the painting, Mr. Carsons attaches his perceptions of prominent African Americans who served as his inspiration.

Letter from Christian Action to MLK

L. John Collins, Chairman of Christian Action, writes Dr. King inquiring if he would be interested in attending a public meeting in London regarding race relations in South Africa. In addition to Dr. King, one of the prospective speakers mentioned was James Baldwin.

Letter from Clarence B. Jones to the Editor of New York Times

Clarence Jones writes the editor of the New York Times to comment on a statement made by James Reston. According to Mr. Jones the statement was factually inaccurate and partially paraphrased.

Letter from Kenneth Lee to MLK

Kenneth Lee, President of the International Confederation of Disarmament and Peace, invites Dr. King to become a sponsor of the organization.

Letter from M. G. Gilligan to MLK and James Baldwin

Mrs. M. G. Gilligan expresses admiration to Dr. King and Mr. Baldwin for the production of the television program entitled "Perspectives."

Letter from Sharyl Green to MLK

Sharyl Green, a junior at Roosevelt School in Michigan, expresses her admiration for Dr. King's work and inquires if Dr. King could send her his biography. Green also shares a piece of her literary work with Dr. King.

People in Action: Segregation And The Church

In this New York Amsterdam News article of February 2, 1963, Dr. King mentions writer James Baldwin’s scathing indictment of the Christian Church and states that the Church has been complicit in the system of racial segregation or remained silent on racial injustice, the nation’s most urgent social ill. The church should be the headlight, he states, not the taillight and be true to the prophetic call for justice. King takes hope, however, having just attended the National Conference on Religion and Race in Chicago, which brought together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders.

Racism in the United States

Dr. King discusses the issues of racism, Jim Crow and nonviolence in this edition of Current. He further explains that, without the tactic of nonviolence, Negroes can become hostile and bitter. Throughout this issue several other writers are featured including Leslie W. Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Fay Bennett.

Statement from Jack Wood Jr. to the National Association of Housing Cooperatives

Wood commends President Johnson for his call for a Fair Housing Act and the Demonstration Cities Act of 1966 that would provide funds for rehabilitation of urban ghettoes. However, he laments the fact that they are separate bills and the government is accepting applications for the Demonstration Cities program absent a Fair Housing Act.

The Black Revolution

This pamphlet produced by the SCLC is an excerpt from Thomas Merton's "The Black Revolution: Letters to a White Liberal." Merton seeks to awaken the conscience of white America by presenting the Negro perspective in the struggle for civil rights. He discusses how Dr. King utilizes the philosophy of nonviolence as a tool of progress and the contrasting reaction of Negros based upon their religious association as either Christian or Muslim. The concluding message is a call for the complete reform of America's social system which permits and breeds injustice.

Youth, Nonviolence, and Social Change

The conference on "Youth, Nonviolence, and Social Change" at Howard University contains various speakers deriving from various academic disciplines. Dr. King participated in the lecture and discussed how nonviolent methods impacted individuals, especially the youth.