theOUTfront proudly celebrates Black History Month by spotlighting author and activist, James Baldwin (1924 – 1987). Baldwin’s contributions to the literary world and social conscience are not to be underestimated. An openly gay man, he wrote his truth fearlessly about subjects he knew best whether the black experience in America, civil rights, or the love between men.
“Although he spent a great deal of his life abroad, James Baldwin always remained a quintessentially American writer. Whether he was working in Paris or Istanbul, he never ceased to reflect on his experience as a black man in white America. In numerous essays, novels, plays and public speeches, the eloquent voice of James Baldwin spoke of the pain and struggle of black Americans and the saving power of brotherhood.”
In 1956, Baldwin published his novel, Giovanni’s Room, the story of an American living in Paris and groundbreaking for its “taboo” depiction of homosexuality, which he again explored in 1978’s Just Above My Head.
“It was his essays, however, that helped establish Baldwin as one of the top writers of the times. Delving into his own life, he provided an unflinching look at the black experience in America through such works as Notes of a Native Son (1955); and Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961) which hit the bestsellers list, selling more than a million copies. While not a marching or sit-in style activist, Baldwin emerged as one of the leading voices in the Civil Rights Movement for his compelling work on race.”
Based on his unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, the Academy Award nominated documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro” tells the story of race relations in America. Opening today in wide release to critical acclaim, The New York Times calls it “One of the 10 Best films of the year.”