“Once you find yourself in another civilization,” he notes, “you’re forced to examine your own.” In a sense, Baldwin’s travels brought him even closer to the social concerns of contemporary America.
In the early 1960s, overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility to the times, Baldwin returned to take part in the civil rights movement.
James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in New York City’s Harlem and was raised under very trying circumstances.
As is the case with many writers, Baldwin’s upbringing is reflected in his writings, especially in .
During the last ten years of his life, he produced a number of important works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
He also turned to teaching as a new way of connecting with the young.
Baldwin’s stepfather, an evangelical preacher, struggled to support a large family and demanded the most rigorous religious behavior from his nine children.
As a youth Baldwin read constantly and even tried writing.
The assassinations of three of his associates, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr.
and Malcolm X, shattered his remaining hopes for racial reconciliation across the U. At the time of his death from cancer late in 1987, Baldwin was still working on two projects—a play, , and a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.