Through reporting and essays, James Baldwin was a key voice of the Civil Rights Movement. With keen observations, blunt but effective prose describing the roots and branches of white supremacy and white complicity, Baldwin’s writing conveyed something of what it was like to be black in a segregated nation. His The Fire Next Time held white America accountable for racism, but also argued that racism hurt white people too. The notes of pain and anger in his writing ring clear today and enable us to hear similar notes in today’s civil rights activists. Today, writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Robert Jones, Jr. aka Son of Baldwin follow in his footsteps.
Read “Letter from a Region in My Mind” for a sample