August 13, 2020

James Baldwin was an author and activist. He is well known for his exploration of racial, sexual, and social classism during the Civil Rights Movement up until his death in 1987.

In his unfinished manuscript “Remember This House”, Baldwin expresses his internal conflict between not participating in protests and marches during the Civil Rights movement and choosing to devote his energy to writing about the inequalities he experienced and witnessed. Although he wanted to participate more in the protests, he believed the greatest impact he could make would be to tell the story of racism and classism.

In 1965, Baldwin participated in a debate on the following question; “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”

Baldwin’s arguments during this debate, 55 years ago, is a debate that still takes place today. The same suffering, pain, and marginalization he speaks of persists. The same need for change exists.

Please take time to watch the linked video. James Baldwin’s participation in the debate begins at the 14 minute mark of the video.

The below link is to a video that recounts the debate and how this debate still resonates 55 years later. This video is 9 minutes long.