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date: 30 March 2020

Baldwin, James locked

(1924–1987), novelist, essayist, playwright, scriptwriter, director, poet, filmmaker, college professor, lecturer, and expatriate.
  • Trudier Harris

Extract

Easily recognized as one of the leading African American authors, James Baldwin has contributed to a variety of genres in American literary creativity He has especially used novels and essays to focus on his favorite themes the failure of the promise of American democracy questions of racial and sexual identity the failures of the Christian church difficult family relationships and the political and social worlds that shaped the American Negro and then despised him for that shaping Frequently employing a third person plural voice in his essays Baldwin exhorts the exploiters and the exploited to save the country from its own destructive tendencies An activist who put his body on the line with his politics Baldwin was intimidatingly articulate in telling it like it is in interviews as well as on paper A small man whose voice was one of the largest America had ever heard Baldwin was intent ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature.

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