Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remembering... James Baldwin

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWhenever I'm feeling particularly picked on - or even if I'm having one of my out-and-out victim days - I find it helps me to consider the case of one James Baldwin... Growing up black and gay in the 1930s tends to put any little snit I might find myself in directly into the dumper; I know it's not fashionable to compare oppressions, but come on! As glamourous as they might look to us from this remove, those were some very hard times indeed.

Not only did James Baldwin not hurl himself off the George Washington Bridge (like at least one of his characters - Rufus Scott, in Another Country - did) he turned his hurts inside out all over the printed page, eventually producing the big three - prose, poetry, and plays - in addition to essays and articles by the score.

Born in August 1924, at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, by the time his first novel - Go Tell It on the Mountain - appeared in 1953 that phenomenon was all but forgotten. Over the next thirty years Baldwin wrote Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni's Room, and If Beale Street Could Talk among many others.

He died on this day in 1987.
share on: facebook

No comments: