Black History Month – Day 7

Black History Month – Day 7

We honor James Baldwin.

Model: James Appleton

“My first experience with James Baldwin stems from his essay ‘Nobody Knows My Name’, a work of African American literature which exemplifies W.E.B. DuBois notion of “tragic soul-life” –a theory he uses to explain the legacy of suffering that defines the history of African Americans. In each essay, Baldwin ruminates on what it means to be black in a country whose racially oppressive social order, structures establish double consciousness amongst individuals like himself. As I approach my mid 20s I have definitely begun to feel this double consciousness. But I have started to learn to find strength in my unique perspective.” -James Appleton

Author of “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, “The Fire Next Time”, “ Giovanni’s Room“, and much more, James Baldwin is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Born to a single mother in Harlem, NY in 1924, he was acquainted with adversity from a very young age. He used his experience as a black American to shed light on racial and social issues. Drawing from his personal life, Baldwin’s writings offer incredible insight into race, spirituality, and sexuality. He believed in the fluidity of sexuality and was very open about his homosexuality. In his lifetime, James Baldwin was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, The Eugene F. Saxton Memorial Trust Award, and The Foreign Drama Critics Award. “Baldwin died on December 1, 1987, at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France. Never wanting to be a spokesperson or a leader, Baldwin saw his personal mission as bearing “witness to the truth.” (biography.com)

(source image by Richard Avedon, 1963)