Who was… James Baldwin ?
…and what was… The Harlem Renaissance ?
Harlem Renaissance Overview • The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s and incorporated the growing black middle class in Manhattan’s neighborhood of Harlem. At the time, it was known as the “New Negro Movement”. • The Harlem Renaissance lasted from about 1919 until the early or mid 1930s. Many of its ideas lived on much longer. • There was an explosion of culture in Harlem during this time. Not just Writers, Poets, and Playwrights, but also Musicians, Singers, Dancers…
Baldwin Background • James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was a gay, African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. • His writings explore the complexity of racial, sexual and class distinctions in American society. • His family moved to Harlem when he was a baby, they were very poor, and Baldwin cared for his younger siblings. • At age ten, he was beaten by a gang of police officers.
Baldwin Background con… • At age 14, Baldwin joined the Pentecostal Church and became a junior preacher. He said that the difficulties of his life as well as the oppressive influence of his abusive stepfather (also a pastor) delivered him to the church. At 17, he left the church. • At 24, disillusioned by American prejudice against both blacks and gays, Baldwin moved to Paris, France. • His first (bestselling) novel Go Tell It On The Mountain was published in 1953. • He spoke at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin.
“A Talk To Teachers” • Delivered October 16, 1963, to a group of NYC teachers. Originally titled as “The Negro Child – His Self-Image” • Originally published in The Saturday Review, December 21, 1963.
“TALK TO THE TEXT” Underline,Hi-light, write marginalia!
“I DO” Let’s begin by saying that we are living through a very dangerous time. Everyone in this room is in one way or another aware of that. We are in a revolutionary situation, no matter how unpopular that word has become in this country.
“We Do” The society in which we live is desperately menaced, not by Khrushchev, but from within. To any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible – and particularly those of You who deal with the minds and hearts Of young people –must be prepared to “go for broke.” Or to put it another way, you must understand that in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty, when it is operating not only in the classroom but in society, you will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance. There is no point in pretending that this won’t happen.