Born August 2,1924, James Baldwin was a brilliant writer and a steadfast civil rights activist. His collection of novels, essays and poems touch on themes of sexuality and race and describe all that is painful and beautiful about being Black in America. Religion is central in almost all of his work, inspired by his life growing up as the stepson of a Baptist preacher.
Frustrated with the conditions for Blacks in America, Baldwin moved to Paris in 1948 in his early twenties to gain perspective. “Once you find yourself in another civilization, you’re forced to examine your own,” he once said.
Although he passed away in 1987, Baldwin left us with a brilliant body of work and has inspired future generations of amazing Black writers. In honor of what would have been his 99 birthday, check out our reading list inspired by the work of James Baldwin.