This Day in History

Aug. 2, 1924: James Baldwin Born

Time Periods: 1920
Themes: African American, Art & Music, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing

The paradox of education is precisely this — that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. — James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers

Howard Zinn, James Baldwin, and a journalist on Freedom Day in Selma, Alabama, October, 1963.

Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin was born on Aug. 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York. The photo above is from Selma’s Freedom Day, held soon after 32 African American school teachers had been fired because they attempted to register to vote, and a few weeks after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in nearby Birmingham. Read a description by Howard Zinn of Freedom Day in Selma.

We suggest taking the time to read (or re-read) Baldwin’s:

A Talk to Teachers

A Letter to My Nephew

A Report from Occupied Territory” (about police brutality)

On Being White . . . and Other Lies

The prose below is from the 2016 film based on Baldwin’s work by Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro.