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Homosexuals and James Baldwin's Role in the Civil Rights Movement

Powerful Essays
During the Civil Rights Movement, James Baldwin wrote many articles and essays on racial issues. His unique and powerful style invoked the thoughts of many people. What also made Baldwin stand out from others was his homosexuality. Baldwin wrote several essays and novels that had a homosexual theme rooted within the story. It was through this method that Baldwin was able to express his homosexuality and at the same time present a view of black culture that was highly unacceptable during that time period. His works gave him much widespread attention but essentially he was not recognized as a prominent leader of the movement. This was a result of stereotyped images of homosexuals and the desire for African American men to align themselves with the image of being powerful and very masculine. Because African Americans were in the struggle for equality and power here in America, to have a homosexual, who is stereotyped to have effeminate features, might prove detrimental in the drive for equality.

There were a lot of things going on during the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement was in full steam and the push for African American quality was greater than ever. The mass of appeal for protest was overwhelming and it spread to other causes as well. Movement could be found in other minority groups, women, and homosexuals as well. This period in time was unique because change was being encouraged and many people took advantage of it. James Baldwin was no exception to this motion of change. During this time period he produced many essays and novels, some of which contained a homosexual theme. He was bold in his move because he was one of a few among many who dealt with the topic. It was only until r...

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...among other writers in the literary circle and in a sense became a leader that way. In more recent times, Baldwin has been given much praise for his work, he fueled other writers to follow suit and write about issues like race and sexuality. Hopefully his works will continue to be passed on to others and will open the minds and hearts of many.

Works Cited

Boykin, Keith. One More River to Cross New York: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1996.

Holland, Sharon P. “(Pro)Creating Imaginative Spaces and Other Queer Acts: Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits and Its Revival of James Bladwin’s Absent Black Gay Man in Giovanni’s Room.” McBride 265-87.

McBride, Dwight A., ed. James Baldwin Now. New York: New York U P, 1999.

Spurlin, William J. “Culture, Rhetoric, and Queer Identity: James Baldwin and the Identity Politics of Race and Sexuality.” McBride 103-21.