James Baldwin and the Civil Rights

  1. Before beginning James Baldwin and the Civil Rights, consider the following. 

One, reread the  opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, which is the basis for civil rights. 

Two. reread the Reconstruction Amendments, 13, 14, 15, to the Constitution, which attempt to carry forward the intent of the D of I. 

Now, consider who James Baldwin is and how he fits into the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

James Baldwin and Civil Rights

Born in Harlem, New York City in 1928, a bit more than a generation after Howard Thurman, and one year before Martin Luther King, Jr., Baldwin is known as the poet and philosopher, the theorist and sage of the Civil Rights Movement.  An essayist, novelist and playwright, Baldwin remains the voice of civil rights.  The Fire Next Time first appeared in the  New Yorker as an essay on the Black Muslim separatist movement and civil rights before becoming a  New York Times bestseller.

  • Published one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, what is Baldwin’s demand of whites and blacks?
    • What is Badwin’s thesis?
    • How do you describe his writing style?
    • Is this a call to action–how and why?
    • Based on the clips of Howard Thurman, how is Baldwin similar?
    • Almost sixty years later, what does Baldwin mean today?
    • How does Baldwin reflect the Black Lives Matter movement?

In a few concluding paragraphs how does  The Fire Next Time relate to “Shane,”  Ragged Dick and  Maggie, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Grapes of Wrath,” and Foner?

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