James Baldwin was a man who wrote an exceptional amount of essays. He enticed audiences differing in race, sexuality, ethnic background, government preference and so much more. Each piece is a circulation of emotions and a teeter-totter on where he balances personal experiences and worldly events to the way you feel. Not only did he have the ability to catch readers’ attention through writing, but he also appeared on television a few times.
Boston’s local public television station WGBH, under the leadership of Hartford Gunn, presented an array of educational and cultural programming. Similar to an earlier interview, in a 1963 taping of “The Negro and the American Promise,” Baldwin is interviewed by Dr. Kenneth Clark. This happened just months after Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, expressed his support of “segregation forever” (qtd. in PBS Online). To inflect the possibility that blacks were not as equal or fairly treated as whites in the mid-twentieth century, two very different African Americans were brought on air. Malcolm X based his interview on historical and present references, but James Baldwin took a more personal approach.
As a grown black male Baldwin had encompassed a range of experiences, both horrifying and gratuitous. Those occurrences most treacherous were a focal point when he adds that, “It doesn’t matter any longer what you do to me; you can put me in jail, you can kill me. By the time I was 17, you’d done everything that you could do to me” (“The Negro” 2). Reflecting back on “Down at the Cross” for a moment, Baldwin starts by explaining the metamorphosis of both the black girls and boys. Most of his friends became pimps and whores, and the b...
... middle of paper ...
...erance for those who are disrespectful, but realizes that people can and hopefully will change and that we need each other to change. The New York Times described the James Baldwin segment as "a television experience that seared the conscience" (qtd. in PBS Online). In one instance Baldwin makes a hearty and honest “can’t we all get along” statement. “In short, we, the black and the white, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation – if we are really, that is, to achieve our identity, our maturity as men and women” (Baldwin 342).
Baldwin, James. “Down at the Cross.” 1962. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed.
Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 296-347.
“The Negro and the American Promise.” Citizen King. 2004. PBS Online.
10 Mar. 2004 < http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/mlk/sfeature/sf_video.html>.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Baldwin Technique James Baldwin is highly regarded as one of the great writers of his time. In the “Notes of a Native Son” he describes a very influential moment in his life. The essay’s setting takes place during the Harlem riots in New York City and Detroit. The riot in New York all began due the fatal shooting of a young African American boy by a white police officer. Protesters began to protest the police brutality, but then fights and looting broke out when some protesters became unruly.... [tags: James Baldwin]
1762 words (5 pages)
- Collecting the Harlem Riots ?It would have been better to have left the plate glass as it had been and the goods lying in the stores. It would have been better, but it would have also have been intolerable, for Harlem needed something to smash. This quote by James Baldwin pertains to his relevant thoughts on the Harlem Riots of 1943. A copy of Newsweek from August 9,1943 described the riot in great detail, ?Within a half hour Harlem?s hoodlums were on the march. Windows of pawnshops and liquor and grocery stores were smashed and looted.... [tags: James Baldwin]
1339 words (3.8 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin A captivating tale of a relationship between two troubling brothers in Harlem, "Sonny's Blues" is told from the perception of Sonny's brother, whose name is never mentioned. Baldwin's choice of Sonny's brother as a narrator is what makes "Sonny's Blues" significant in terms of illustrating the relationship and emotional complications of Sonny and his brother. The significance of "Sonny's Blues" lies in the way Sonny's brother describes their relationship based on what he observes, hears, and feels, and how he struggles trying to understand Sonny through the course of the story.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
1217 words (3.5 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues" is a story about two brothers, their past, and how their differences came between them. They were apart for several years while Sonny was in jail, but once he got out they had a chance to mend their pasts. "Sonny's Blues" is a well written story that teaches a lesson that has value in every day life. The tone is melancholy and reminiscent. The brother is remembering the past and reflection on the mistakes he and Sonny made. He is sad over their fallout, Sonny's trouble with drugs, and the death of his daughter.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
501 words (1.4 pages)
- There are many things we learn of Sonny and his nameless brother in Sonny's Blues. We learn their mannerisms, hobbies, occupations, and even their addictions. It seems we learn nearly everything about the pair; minus the narrators name, as previously stated. Hearing of their histories and the pains they've under gone, we see how they deal with their pain, which often truly tells character. Sonny's Blues isn't a story of two brothers living in a rough city; one of whom is a talented musician. The story is so much more, it's the point of tossing the main two stereotypes of African-Americans in an urban environment.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- Experiences There is a very thin line between love and hate in James Baldwin’s essay “Notes of a Native Son.” Throughout this essay James Baldwin continually makes references to life and death, blacks and whites, and love and hate. He uses his small experiences to explain a much larger, more complicated picture of life. From the first paragraph of the essay to the last paragraph, Baldwin continually makes connections on his point of view on life; beginning with the day his father died, to the time that his father was buried.... [tags: James Baldwin]
1244 words (3.6 pages)
- Cycles of Hatred James Baldwin lived during an extremely tumultuous time where hatred ruled the country. Race riots, beatings, and injustice flooded the cities that he, as well as most African Americans, was forced to live with every day. Many people, out of fright, suppressed their opposition to the blatant inequalities of the nation. However, some people refused to let themselves be put down solely because of their skin color and so they publicly announced their opposition. One such person was James Baldwin, who voiced his opinion through writing short stories about his experiences growing up as a black man.... [tags: James Baldwin]
1384 words (4 pages)
- Symbolism in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Missing Works Cited Several passages found throughout "Sonny's Blues" indicate that as a whole, the neighborhood of Harlem is in the turmoil of a battle between good and evil. The narrator describes Sonny's close encounters with the evil manifested in drugs and crime, as well as his assertive attempts at distancing himself from the darker side. The streets and communities of Harlem are described as being a harsh environment which claims the lives of many who have struggled against the constant enticement of emotional escape through drugs, and financial escape through crime.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1244 words (3.6 pages)
- James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room James Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s Room is titled such for the purpose of accentuating the symbolism of Giovanni’s room. Within the novel Giovanni’s room is portrayed with such characteristics as being Giovanni’s prison, symbolic of Giovanni’s life, holding the relationship between Giovanni and David, being a metaphor of homosexuality for David and being a tomb underwater. These different portrayals of Giovanni’s room are combined within the novel to create an overall negative metaphor of homosexuality as perpetuated by society.... [tags: James Baldwin Giovanni's room Essays]
2969 words (8.5 pages)
- James Baldwin's Stranger in the Village In paragraph three of James Baldwin's 'Stranger in the Village' (1955), he alludes to emotions that are significant, dealing with conflicts that arise in the Swiss village. Of these emotions are two, astonishment and outrage, which represent the relevant feelings of Baldwin, an American black man. These two emotions, for Baldwin's ancestors, create arguments about the 'Negro' and their rights to be considered 'human beings' (Baldwin 131). Baldwin, an American Negro, feels undeniable rage toward the village because of the misconception of his complexion, a misconception that denies Baldwin human credibility and allows him to be perceived as a 'living... [tags: James Baldwin Stranger Village Essays Papers]
892 words (2.5 pages)