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James Baldwin's Lessons For America

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (RALPH GATTI/AFP via Getty Images)
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (RALPH GATTI/AFP via Getty Images)

We look back on the life and work of the great American writer and thinker James Baldwin.   

Guest

Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. Author of “ Begin Again.” ( @esglaude)

From The Reading List

Excerpt from “Begin Again” by Eddie Glaude Jr.

New York Times: “ ‘Begin Again’ Calls on James Baldwin to Make Sense of Today” — “It’s hard enough to think back four months, much less four years, but try to recall the early weeks of 2016 — another time, another planet.”

The Atlantic: “ We Need to Begin Again” — “The United States has confronted two crucial moments of moral reckoning where we faced the daunting challenge of beginning again; both times we failed.”

Washington Post: “ James Baldwin spoke eloquently to his era. Does he speak to ours?” — “In our present racial crisis, the words of the writer and essayist James Baldwin have reemerged and become ubiquitous in American public discourse.”

The New Yorker: “ The History That James Baldwin Wanted America to See” — “On March 16, 1968, James Baldwin walked to the podium at a fund-raiser, at Anaheim’s Disneyland Hotel, to introduce Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The Atlantic: “ The United States Needs a Third Reconstruction” — “Along the unbroken chain of racism that links America’s past to its present, there have been two points when the federal government—otherwise complicit or complacent—saw the mistreatment of African Americans as intolerable.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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