“I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” —James Baldwin
This quote, written by James Baldwin in his 1955 essay Notes of a Native Son, has become one of his more famous platitudes, especially during times of upheaval in this country. But exactly who was James Baldwin? Was he an activist? A novelist? All of the above? He is a complicated and fascinating figure who no doubt made his mark on this country in more ways than one. And yet, despite his undeniable intelligence and impact on literary history, he is rarely taught in high schools in this country. The root of this is most likely tied to the reason that Baldwin is in fact so famous—his literature and his essays are some of the most frank accounts of racism that this country has ever seen. He also wrote openly about homosexuality and interracial relationships at a time when both were still illegal in this country. And it is for exactly these reasons that he should be required reading for all Americans. Not only to educate those of us who are more privileged, but so that other children growing up in similar circumstances know that they are not alone.
I have yet to read anything written by James Baldwin and now I want to read his writing! I seen/heard more people reading Baldwin's works than ever recently. Now to decide which of his books to start first! Any suggestions?
Click on the above link to read Katherine Packer's entire article about James Baldwin.