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: 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works. In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain--the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.
Author: Eric Liu
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Beyond black and white, native and alien, lies a vast and fertile field of human experience. It is here that Eric Liu, former speechwriter for President Clinton and noted political commentator, invites us to explore. In these compellingly candid essays, Liu reflects on his life as a second-generation Chinese American and reveals the shifting frames of ethnic identity. Finding himself unable to read a Chinese memorial book about his father's life, he looks critically at the cost of his own assimilation. But he casts an equally questioning eye on the effort to sustain vast racial categories like “Asian American.” And as he surveys the rising anxiety about China's influence, Liu illuminates the space that Asians have always occupied in the American imagination. Reminiscent of the work of James Baldwin and its unwavering honesty, The Accidental Asian introduces a powerful and elegant voice into the discussion of what it means to be an American. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Garry Barker
Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press
Release Date: 1995
Interpreting Appalachia, Garry Barker observes, is a task that has too often fallen to outsiders, whether government missionaries, learned experts, or sensation mongers. Not surprisingly, he suggests, their accounts of the region have usually missed the essentials: "the subtle humor, quiet pain, intense pride, and bridled passion that are part of every native mountaineer." Those missing qualities are precisely the ones that Barker - who was born, reared, and educated in the mountains of Kentucky - brings to this thoughtful collection of essays. Written during the 1980s and early 1990s, these pieces are full of pointed insights into recent issues facing the region, but they are also deeply informed by a sense of the past and of the rich traditions that account for much of the Appalachian identity. Divided into four parts, "Learning," "Working," "Laughing," and "Looking," Barker's essays range from some provocative thoughts on federal arts subsidies to personal perspectives on the Appalachian crafts industries, from a moving account of a trip home for a funeral to a gently humorous definition of "head of the holler" ("It's as far back as you can go," Barker says). The result is one writer's portrait of himself and his region - a stimulating mix of opinion and reflection that always poses the pertinent question even when its answer proves elusive.
The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing. With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experience of race and identity in the United States. Here are the full texts of Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Devil Finds Work, along with dozens of other pieces, ranging from a 1948 review of Raintree Country to a magnificent introduction to this book that, as so many of Mr. Baldwin's works do, combines his intensely private experience with the deepest examination of social interaction between the races. In a way, The Price of the Ticket is an intellectual history of the twentieth-century American experience; in another, it is autobiography of the highest order.
Author: Daniel Quentin Miller
Publisher: Temple University Press
Release Date: 2000-01-01
Genre: Literary Criticism
This new collection of essays presents a critical reappraisal of James Baldwin's work, looking beyond the commercial and critical success of some of Baldwin's early writings such as Go Tell it on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son. Focusing on Baldwin's critically undervalued early works and the virtually neglected later ones, the contributors illuminate little-known aspects of this daring author's work and highlight his accomplishments as an experimental writer. Attentive to his innovations in style and form, Things Not Seen reveals an author who continually challenged cultural norms and tackled matters of social justice, sexuality, and racial identity. As volume editor D. Quentin Miller notes, "what has been lost is a complete portrait of [Baldwin's] tremendously rich intellectual journey that illustrates the direction of African-American thought and culture in the late twentieth century." This is an important book for anyone interested in Baldwin's work. It will engage readers interested in literature and African-American Studies. Author note: D. Quentin Miller is Assistant Professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN.