In an age of Black Lives Matter, James Baldwin's essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and African Americans abroad are as powerful today as when they were first written. With documentaries like I Am Not Your Negro bringing renewed interest to Baldwin's life and work, Notes of a Native Son serves as a valuable introduction. Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.” Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have proven almost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of white progressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed and unabashed. He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressed the issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical and political violence against black citizens and measured understanding of their oppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under their noses. Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventional empathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise. Notes is the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remains one of his most admired works. The essays collected here create a cohesive sketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own search for identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.
Author: James Baldwin
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2017-11-02
Genre: Literary Collections
'The story of the negro in America is the story of America ... it is not a very pretty story' James Baldwin's breakthrough essay collection made him the voice of his generation. Ranging over Harlem in the 1940s, movies, novels, his preacher father and his experiences of Paris, they capture the complexity of black life at the dawn of the civil rights movement with effervescent wit and prophetic wisdom. 'A classic ... In a divided America, James Baldwin's fiery critiques reverberate anew' Washington Post 'Edgy and provocative, entertainingly satirical' Robert McCrum, Guardian 'Cemented his reputation as a cultural seer ... Notes of a Native Son endures as his defining work, and his greatest' Time
Author: James Baldwin
Publisher: Beacon Press
Release Date: 1984
Genre: Social Science
Originally published in 1955, James Baldwin's first nonfiction book has become a classic. These searing essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and Americans abroad remain as powerful today as when they were written. "He named for me the things you feel but couldn't utter. . . . Jimmy's essays articulated for the first time to white America what it meant to be American and a black American at the same time." -Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Told with Baldwin's characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers.
Author: Paul Hemphill
Publisher: University Alabama Press
Release Date: 2000-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
P>Birmingham's history of racial violence and bigotry is the centerpiece of this intense and affecting memoir about family, society, and politics in a city still haunted by its notorious past. In 1963, Birmingham was the scene of some of the worst racial violence of the civil rights era. Police commissioner "Bull" Connor loosed dogs and turned fire hoses on black demonstrators; four young girls at Sunday school were killed when a bomb exploded in a black church; and Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his famous letter from the Birmingham jail, defending his activism to fellow ministers. Birmingham native Paul Hemphill, disillusioned with his hometown, had left home to pursue a journalistic career, so he witnessed these historic events with the rest of the world through newspaper and television reports. "That grim old steel town," he writes, "was the most blatantly segregated city of its size in the United States of America, and most of us regarded it with the same morbid fascination that causes us to slow down and gawk at a bloody wreck on the highway." Thirty years later, Hemphill returned to Birmingham to explore the depths of change that had taken place in the decades since the violence. In this powerful memoir, he interweaves his own autobiography with the history of the city and the stories of two very different Birmingham residents: a wealthy white matron and the pastor of the city's largest black church. As he struggles to come to terms with his own conflicting feelings toward his father's attitudes, Hemphill finds ironic justice in the integration of his childhood neighborhood and a visit with the black family who moved into his family's former home.
Author: James Baldwin
Publisher: One World
Release Date: 2009-03-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
James Baldwin was beginning to be recognized as the most brilliant black writer of his generation when his first book of essays, Notes of a Native Son, established his reputation in 1955. No one was more pleased by the book’s reception than Baldwin’s high school friend Sol Stein. A rising New York editor, novelist, and playwright, Stein had suggested that Baldwin do the book and coaxed his old friend through the long and sometimes agonizing process of putting the volume together and seeing it into print. Now, in this fascinating new book, Sol Stein documents the story of his intense creative partnership with Baldwin through newly uncovered letters, photos, inscriptions, and an illuminating memoir of the friendship that resulted in one of the classics of American literature. Included in this book are the two works they created together–the story “Dark Runner” and the play Equal in Paris, both published here for the first time. Though a world of difference separated them–Baldwin was black and gay, living in self-imposed exile in Europe; Stein was Jewish and married, with a growing family to support–the two men shared the same fundamental passion. Nothing mattered more to either of them than telling and writing the truth, which was not always welcome. As Stein wrote Baldwin in a long, heartfelt letter, “You are the only friend with whom I feel comfortable about all three: heart, head, and writing.” In this extraordinary book, Stein unfolds how that shared passion played out in the months surrounding the creation and publication of Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, in which Baldwin’s main themes are illuminated. A literary event published to honor the eightieth anniversary of James Baldwin’s birth, Native Sons is a celebration of one of the most fruitful and influential friendships in American letters. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Michael Gallantz
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Release Date: 1985-12-01
Genre: Study Aids
A lively, in-depth discussion of NATIVE SON AND BLACK BOY. Students are taken on an exciting journey of discovery through every scene or chapter. Also included are unique text notes, ideas for term papers, notes on the author's life as well as a glossary.
A Study Guide for James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Nonfiction Classics for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Nonfiction Classics for Students for all of your research needs.
Author: Ward Churchill
Publisher: South End Press
Release Date: 1996
Ward Churchill has emerged over the past decade as one of the strongest and most influential voices of native resistance in North America. From a Native Son collects his most important and unflinching essays, which explore the themes of
All of the published poetry of James Baldwin, including six significant poems previously only available in a limited edition During his lifetime (1924–1987), James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, which were published to wide-spread praise. These books, among them Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, Giovanni’s Room, and Go Tell It on the Mountain, brought him well-deserved acclaim as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer. However, Baldwin’s earliest writing was in poetic form, and Baldwin considered himself a poet throughout his lifetime. Nonetheless, his single book of poetry, Jimmy’s Blues, never achieved the popularity of his novels and nonfiction, and is the one and only book to fall out of print. This new collection presents James Baldwin the poet, including all nineteen poems from Jimmy’s Blues, as well as all the poems from a limited-edition volume called Gypsy, of which only 325 copies were ever printed and which was in production at the time of his death. Known for his relentless honesty and startlingly prophetic insights on issues of race, gender, class, and poverty, Baldwin is just as enlightening and bold in his poetry as in his famous novels and essays. The poems range from the extended dramatic narratives of “Staggerlee wonders” and “Gypsy” to the lyrical beauty of “Some days,” which has been set to music and interpreted by such acclaimed artists as Audra McDonald. Nikky Finney’s introductory essay reveals the importance, relevance, and rich rewards of these little-known works. Baldwin’s many devotees will find much to celebrate in these pages. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A comprehensive compilation of Baldwin's previously published, nonfiction writings encompasses essays on America's racial divide, the social and political turbulence of his time, and his insights into the poetry of Langston Hughes and the music of Earl Hines.