Anarchism in the United States began in the mid 19th century and started to grow in influence as it entered the American labor movements, growing an anarcho-communist current as well as gaining notoriety for violent propaganda by the deed and campaigning for diverse social reforms in the early 20th century. As the post-World War II era anarchism regained influence through new developments such as anarcho-pacifism, the American new left and the counterculture of the 1960s. In contemporary times, anarchism in the United States influenced and became influenced and renewed by developments both inside and outside the worldwide anarchist movement such as platformism, insurrectionary anarchism, the new social movements (anarcha-feminism, queer anarchism and green anarchism) and the alterglobalization movements.
Early American anarchism
For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, American individualist anarchism "stresses the isolation of the individual—his right to his own tools, his mind, his body, and to the products of his labor. To the artist who embraces this philosophy it is 'aesthetic' anarchism, to the reformer, ethical anarchism, to the independent mechanic, economic anarchism. The former is concerned with philosophy, the latter with practical demonstration. The economic anarchist is concerned with constructing a society on the basis of anarchism. Economically he sees no harm whatever in the private possession of what the individual produces by his own labor, but only so much and no more. The aesthetic and ethical type found expression in the transcendentalism, humanitarianism, and romanticism of the first part of the nineteenth century, the economic type in the pioneer life of the West during the same period, but more favorably after the Civil War."
It is for this reason that it has been suggested that in order to understand American individualist anarchism one must take into account "the social context of their ideas, namely the transformation of America from a pre-capitalist to a capitalist society...the non-capitalist nature of the early U.S. can be seen from the early dominance of self-employment (artisan and peasant production). At the beginning of the 19th century, around 80% of the working (non-slave) male population were self-employed. The great majority of Americans during this time were farmers working their own land, primarily for their own needs," and so "individualist anarchism is clearly a form of artisanal socialism... while communist anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism are forms of industrial (or proletarian) socialism."[unreliable source?]
Historian Wendy McElroy reports that American individualist anarchism received an important influence of 3 European thinkers. "One of the most important of these influences was the french political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon whose words "Liberty is not the Daughter But the Mother of Order" appeared as a motto on Liberty's masthead"  (influential individualist anarchist publication of Benjamin Tucker). "Another major foreign influence was the german philosopher Max Stirner". "The third foreign thinker with great impact was the British philosopher Herbert Spencer" Other influences to consider include William Godwin's "anarchism (which) exerted an ideological influence on some of this, but more so the socialism of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier.
After success of his British venture, Owen himself established a cooperative community within the United States at New Harmony, Indiana during 1825. One member of this commune was Josiah Warren (1798–1874), considered to be the first individualist anarchist. After New Harmony failed Warren shifted his ideological loyalties from socialism to anarchism (which was no great leap, given that Owen's socialism had been predicated on Godwin's anarchism)." Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist, and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published, an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type, and made his own printing plates. Warren was a follower of Owen and joined Owen's community at New Harmony. Warren termed the phrase "Cost the limit of price," with "cost" here referring not to monetary price paid but the labor one exerted to produce an item. Therefore, "[h]e proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce.". He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental "labor for labor store" called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by notes backed by a promise to perform labor. The store proved successful and operated for three years after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism. These included "Utopia" and "Modern Times." Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews' The Science of Society, published in 1852, was the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren's own theories. Catalan historian Xavier Diez report that the intentional communal experiments pioneered by Warren were influential in European individualist anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as Emile Armand and the intentional communities started by them.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. Thoreau was an American author, poet, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by Thoreau that was first published in 1849. It argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War. It would influence Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy through its advocacy of nonviolent resistance. It is also the main precedent for anarcho-pacifism. Anarchism started to have an ecological view mainly in the writings of American individualist anarchist and transcendentalist Thoreau. In his book Walden, he advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization. "Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan. For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid-19th century." Zerzan himself included the text "Excursions" (1863) by Thoreau in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings called Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections from 1999. Walden made Thoreau influential in the European individualist anarchist green current of anarcho-naturism.[unreliable source?]
For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster "It is apparent ... that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews ... William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.". William Batchelder Greene (1819–1878) was a 19th-century mutualistindividualist anarchist, Unitarian minister, soldier and promotor of free banking in the United States. Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking (1850), which proposed an interest-free banking system, and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school.
After 1850 he became active in labor reform. "He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon's scheme of mutual banking, and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union." He then publishes Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875). He saw mutualism as the synthesis of "liberty and order." His "associationism...is checked by individualism..."Mind your own business," "Judge not that ye be not judged." Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign, as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason he demands "mutuality" in marriage—the equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property."
Stephen Pearl Andrews was an individualist anarchist and close associate of Josiah Warren. Andrews was formerly associated with the Fourierist movement, but converted to radical individualism after becoming acquainted with the work of Warren. Like Warren, he held the principle of "individual sovereignty" as being of paramount importance. Contemporary American anarchist Hakim Bey reports that "Steven Pearl Andrews...was not a fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America and adopted a lot of fourierist principles and practices...a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized abolitionism, Free Love, spiritual universalism, Warren, and Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy...He was instrumental in founding several “intentional communities,” including the “Brownstone Utopia” on 14th Street in New York and “Modern Times” in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts and the North American Phalanx in New Jersey) — in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious for “Free Love” and finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (and Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, and spiritualist tendencies. "
19th-century American individualist anarchism
Main articles: Individualist anarchism in the United States, Anarchism_and_issues_related_to_love_and_sex § The_United_States, Freethought § United_States, and Liberty (1881–1908)
An important current within American individualist anarchism was Free love. Free love advocates sometimes traced their roots back to Josiah Warren and to experimental communities, and viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of an individual's self-ownership. Free love particularly stressed women's rights since most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures. The most important American free love journal was Lucifer the Lightbearer (1883–1907) edited by Moses Harman and Lois Waisbrooker but also there existed Ezra Heywood and Angela Heywood's The Word (1872–1890, 1892–1893).M. E. Lazarus was an important American individualist anarchist who promoted free love.Hutchins Hapgood was an U.S. journalist, author, individualist anarchist/philosophical anarchist who was well known within the Bohemian environment of around the start of 20th-century New York City. He advocated free love and committed adultery frequently. Hapgood was a follower of the German philosophers Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche. The mission of Lucifer the Lightbearer was, according to Harman, "to help woman to break the chains that for ages have bound her to the rack of man-made law, spiritual, economic, industrial, social and especially sexual, believing that until woman is roused to a sense of her own responsibility on all lines of human endeavor, and especially on lines of her special field, that of reproduction of the race, there will be little if any real advancement toward a higher and truer civilization." The name was chosen because "Lucifer, the ancient name of the Morning Star, now called Venus, seems to us unsurpassed as a cognomen for a journal whose mission is to bring light to the dwellers in darkness." In February 1887, the editors and publishers of Lucifer were arrested after the journal ran afoul of the Comstock Act for the publication of a letter condemning forced sex within marriage, which the author identified as rape. The Comstock Act specifically prohibited the public, printed discussion of any topics that were considered "obscene, lewd, or lascivious," and discussing rape, although a criminal matter, was deemed obscene. A Topekadistrict attorney eventually handed down 216 indictments. In February 1890, Harman, now the sole producer of Lucifer, was again arrested on charges resulting from a similar article written by a New York physician. As a result of the original charges, Harman would spend large portions of the next six years in prison. In 1896, Lucifer was moved to Chicago; however, legal harassment continued. The United States Postal Service seized and destroyed numerous issues of the journal and, in May 1905, Harman was again arrested and convicted for the distribution of two articles - "The Fatherhood Question" and "More Thoughts on Sexology” by Sara Crist Campbell. Sentenced to a year of hard labor, the 75-year-old editor's health deteriorated greatly. After 24 years in production, Lucifer ceased publication in 1907 and became the more scholarly American Journal of Eugenics.They also had many opponents, and Moses Harman spent two years in jail after a court determined that a journal he published was "obscene" under the notorious Comstock Law. In particular, the court objected to three letters to the editor, one of which described the plight of a woman who had been raped by her husband, tearing stitches from a recent operation after a difficult childbirth and causing severe hemorrhaging. The letter lamented the woman's lack of legal recourse. Ezra Heywood, who had already been prosecuted under the Comstock Law for a pamphlet attacking marriage, reprinted the letter in solidarity with Harman and was also arrested and sentenced to two years in prison.
Heywood's philosophy was instrumental in furthering individualist anarchist ideas through his extensive pamphleteering and reprinting of works of Josiah Warren, author of True Civilization (1869), and William B. Greene. In 1872, at a convention of the New England Labor Reform League in Boston, Heywood introduced Greene and Warren to eventual Liberty publisher Benjamin Tucker. Heywood saw what he believed to be a disproportionate concentration of capital in the hands of a few as the result of a selective extension of government-backed privileges to certain individuals and organizations. The Word was an individualist anarchist free love magazine edited by Ezra Heywood and Angela Heywood, issued first from Princeton, Massachusetts and then from Cambridge, Massachusetts.The Word was subtitled "A Monthly Journal of Reform," and it included contributions from Josiah Warren, Benjamin Tucker, and J.K. Ingalls. Initially, The Word presented free love as a minor theme which was expressed within a labor reform format. But the publication later evolved into an explicitly free love periodical. At some point Tucker became an important contributor but later became dissatisfied with the journal's focus on free love since he desired a concentration on economics. In contrast, Tucker's relationship with Heywood grew more distant. Yet, when Heywood was imprisoned for his pro-birth control stand from August to December 1878 under the Comstock laws, Tucker abandoned the Radical Review in order to assume editorship of Heywood's The Word. After Heywood's release from prison, The Word openly became a free love journal; it flouted the law by printing birth control material and openly discussing sexual matters. Tucker's disapproval of this policy stemmed from his conviction that "Liberty, to be effective, must find its first application in the realm of economics...".
M. E. Lazarus (1822 – 1895 or 1896) was an American individualist anarchist from Guntersville, Alabama. He is the author of several essays and anarchist pamphlettes including Land Tenure: Anarchist View (1889). A famous quote from Lazarus is "Every vote for a governing office is an instrument for enslaving me." Lazarus was also an intellectual contributor to Fourierism and the Free Love movement of the 1850s, a social reform group that called for, in its extreme form, the abolition of institutionalized marriage.
Freethought as a philosophical position and as activism was important in North American individualist anarchism. In the United States "freethought was a basically anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement, whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide for himself on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both freethought and anarchism. The individualist anarchist George MacDonald was a co-editor of Freethought and, for a time, The Truth Seeker. E.C. Walker was co-editor of the free-thought/free love journal Lucifer, the Light-Bearer". "Many of the anarchists were ardent freethinkers; reprints from freethought papers such as Lucifer, the Light-Bearer, Freethought and The Truth Seeker appeared in Liberty...The church was viewed as a common ally of the state and as a repressive force in and of itself".
Voltairine de Cleyre was an American anarchist writer and feminist. She was a prolific writer and speaker, opposing the state, marriage, and the domination of religion in sexuality and women's lives. She began her activist career in the freethought movement. De Cleyre was initially drawn to individualist anarchism but evolved through mutualism to an "anarchism without adjectives." She believed that any system was acceptable as long as it did not involve force. However, according to anarchist author Iain McKay, she embraced the ideals of stateless communism. In her 1895 lecture entitled Sex Slavery, de Cleyre condemns ideals of beauty that encourage women to distort their bodies and child socialization practices that create unnatural gender roles. The title of the essay refers not to traffic in women for purposes of prostitution, although that is also mentioned, but rather to marriage laws that allow men to rape their wives without consequences. Such laws make "every married woman what she is, a bonded slave, who takes her master's name, her master's bread, her master's commands, and serves her master's passions."
Individualist anarchism found in the United States an important space of discussion and development within what is known as "Boston anarchists."[unreliable source?] Even among the 19th-century American individualists, there was not a monolithic doctrine, as they disagreed amongst each other on various issues including intellectual property rights and possession versus property in land. A major schism occurred later in the 19th century when Tucker and some others abandoned their traditional support of natural rights – as espoused by Lysander Spooner – and converted to an "egoism" modeled upon Stirner's philosophy. Lysander Spooner, besides his individualist anarchist activism, was also an important anti-slavery activist and became a member of the First International. Some "Boston anarchists", including Benjamin Tucker, identified themselves as socialists, which in the 19th century was often used in the sense of a commitment to improving conditions of the working class (i.e. "the labor problem"). The "Boston Anarchists" such as Tucker and his followers are considered socialists to this day due to their opposition to usury. By around the start of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed.
Liberty was a 19th-century anarchist periodical published in the United States by Benjamin Tucker, from August 1881 to April 1908. The periodical was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a format for debate. Contributors included Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Florence Finch Kelly, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie, Lillian Harman, and Henry Appleton. Included in its masthead is a quote from Pierre Proudhon saying that liberty is "Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order."
Some of the American individualist anarchists later in this era, such as Benjamin Tucker, abandoned natural rights positions and converted to Max Stirner's Egoist anarchism. Rejecting the idea of moral rights, Tucker said that there were only two rights, "the right of might" and "the right of contract." He also said, after converting to Egoist individualism, "In times past...it was my habit to talk glibly of the right of man to land. It was a bad habit, and I long ago sloughed it off....Man's only right to land is his might over it." In adopting Stirnerite egoism (1886), Tucker rejected natural rights which had long been considered the foundation of libertarianism. This rejection galvanized the movement into fierce debates, with the natural rights proponents accusing the egoists of destroying libertarianism itself. So bitter was the conflict that a number of natural rights proponents withdrew from the pages of Liberty in protest even though they had hitherto been among its frequent contributors. Thereafter, Liberty championed egoism although its general content did not change significantly." Several publications "were undoubtedly influenced by Liberty's presentation of egoism. They included: I published by C.L. Swartz, edited by W.E. Gordak and J.William Lloyd (all associates of Liberty); The Ego and The Egoist, both of which were edited by Edward H. Fulton. Among the egoist papers that Tucker followed were the German Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand, and The Eagle and The Serpent, issued from London. The latter, the most prominent English-language egoist journal, was published from 1898 to 1900 with the subtitle 'A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy and Sociology'". Among those American anarchists who adhered to egoism include Benjamin Tucker, John Beverley Robinson, Steven T. Byington, Hutchins Hapgood, James L. Walker, Victor Yarros and Edward H. Fulton. Robinson wrote an essay called "Egoism" in which he states that "Modern egoism, as propounded by Stirner and Nietzsche, and expounded by Ibsen, Shaw and others, is all these; but it is more. It is the realization by the individual that they are an individual; that, as far as they are concerned, they are the only individual." Steven T. Byington was a one-time proponent of Georgism who later converted to egoist stirnerist positions after associating with Benjamin Tucker. He is known for translating two important anarchist works into English from German: Max Stirner's The Ego and Its Own and Paul Eltzbacher's Anarchism; exponents of the anarchist philosophy (also published by Dover with the title The Great Anarchists: Ideas and Teachings of Seven Major Thinkers). James L. Walker (sometimes known by the pen name "Tak Kak") was one of the main contributors to Benjamin Tucker's Liberty. He published his major philosophical work called Philosophy of Egoism in the May 1890 to September 1891 in issues of the publication Egoism.
Early American anarcho-communism
By the 1880s anarcho-communism was already present in the United States as can be seen in the publication of the journal Freedom: A Revolutionary Anarchist-Communist Monthly by Lucy Parsons and Lizzy Holmes. Lucy Parsons debated in her time in the US with fellow anarcha-communist Emma Goldman over issues of free love and feminism. Described by the Chicago Police Department as "more dangerous than a thousand rioters" in the 1920s, Parsons and her husband had become highly effective anarchist organizers primarily involved in the labor movement in the late 19th century, but also participating in revolutionary activism on behalf of political prisoners, people of color, the homeless and women. She began writing for The Socialist and The Alarm, the journal of the International Working People's Association (IWPA) that she and Parsons, among others, founded in 1883. In 1886 her husband, who had been heavily involved in campaigning for the eight-hour day, was arrested, tried and executed on November 11, 1887, by the state of Illinois on charges that he had conspired in the Haymarket Riot — an event which was widely regarded as a political frame-up and which marked the beginning of May Day labor rallies in protest.
Another anarcho-communist journal later appeared in the US called The Firebrand. Most anarchist publications in the US were in Yiddish, German, or Russian, but Free Society was published in English, permitting the dissemination of anarchist communist thought to English-speaking populations in the US. Around that time these American anarcho-communist sectors entered in debate with the individualist anarchist group around Benjamin Tucker. Encouraged by news of labor struggles and industrial disputes in the United States, the German anarchist Johann Most emigrated to the USA upon his release from prison in 1882. He promptly began agitating in his adopted land among other German émigrés. Among his associates was August Spies, one of the anarchists hanged for conspiracy in the Haymarket Square bombing, whose desk police found to contain an 1884 letter from Most promising a shipment of "medicine," his code word for dynamite. Most was famous for stating the concept of the propaganda of the deed (Attentat): "The existing system will be quickest and most radically overthrown by the annihilation of its exponents. Therefore, massacres of the enemies of the people must be set in motion." Most is best known for a pamphlet published in 1885: The Science of Revolutionary Warfare, a how-to manual on the subject of bomb-making which earned the author the moniker "Dynamost." He acquired his knowledge of explosives while working at an explosives plant in New Jersey.
A gifted orator, Most propagated these ideas throughout Marxist and anarchist circles in the United States and attracted many adherents, most notably Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. In February 1888 Berkman left for the United States from his native Russia. Soon after his arrival in New York City, Berkman became an anarchist through his involvement with groups that had formed to campaign to free the men convicted of the 1886 Haymarket bombing. He, as well as Goldman, soon came under the influence of Johann Most, the best-known anarchist in the United States, and an advocate of propaganda of the deed—attentat, or violence carried out to encourage the masses to revolt. Berkman became a typesetter for Most's newspaper Freiheit. Inspired by Most's theories of Attentat, Goldman and Berkman, enraged by the deaths of workers during the Homestead strike, put words into action with Berkman's attempted assassination of Homestead factory manager Henry Clay Frick in 1892. Berkman and Goldman were soon disillusioned as Most became one of Berkman's most outspoken critics. In Freiheit, Most attacked both Goldman and Berkman, implying Berkman's act was designed to arouse sympathy for Frick. Goldman's biographer Alice Wexler suggests that Most's criticisms may have been inspired by jealousy of Berkman. Goldman was enraged, and demanded that Most prove his insinuations. When he refused to respond, she confronted him at next lecture. After he refused to speak to her, she lashed him across the face with a horsewhip, broke the whip over her knee, then threw the pieces at him. She later regretted her assault, confiding to a friend, "At the age of twenty-three, one does not reason."
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (present-day Kaunas, Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the U.S. in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement in 1889. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate industrialist and financier Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Although Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to "induce persons not to register" for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrested—along with hundreds of others—and deported to Russia
This article is about the American writer. For other people with the same name, see James Baldwin (disambiguation).
Baldwin in 1969
|Born||James Arthur Baldwin|
(1924-08-02)August 2, 1924
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 1, 1987(1987-12-01) (aged 63)|
James Arthur "Jimmy" Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America. Some of Baldwin's essays are book-length, including The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Devil Finds Work (1976). An unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, was expanded and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award-nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.
Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration not only of African Americans, but also of gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals' quests for acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room, written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement.
His mother, Emma Berdis Jones, left his biological father because of his drug abuse. She moved to Harlem, New York, where Baldwin was born, in Harlem Hospital. In New York his mother married a preacher, David Baldwin, with whom she had eight children, born between 1927 and 1943; her husband also had one son from a previous marriage who was nine years older than James. The family was poor, and Baldwin's stepfather was harder on him than on the rest of the children. His unusual intelligence combined with the persecution by his stepfather caused Baldwin to spend much of his time alone in libraries. By the time Baldwin had reached age fourteen, he had discovered his passion for writing. During his young adult years, his talent for language did not go unnoticed. His educators deemed him gifted and in 1937, at the age of thirteen, he wrote his first article, titled, "Harlem—Then and Now", which was published in the school’s magazine,The Douglass Pilot.
Baldwin spent much time caring for his several younger brothers and sisters. At the age of 10, he was teased and abused by two New York police officers, an instance of racist harassment by the NYPD that he would experience again as a teenager and document in his essays. His adoptive father, whom Baldwin in essays called simply his father, appears to have treated him — by comparison with his siblings - very harshly.
His stepfather died of tuberculosis in summer of 1943 on the day his last child was born, just before Baldwin turned 19. The day of the funeral was Baldwin's 19th birthday and the day of the Harlem riot of 1943, which was portrayed at the beginning of his essay "Notes of a Native Son". The quest to answer or explain family and social rejection—and attain a sense of selfhood, both coherent and benevolent—became a consistent theme in Baldwin's writing.
Growing up in Harlem, Baldwin faced many obstacles, one of which was his education. "I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew I was smart. I didn't know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use," he said. (O'Reilly) Baldwin attended P.S. 24 on 128th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Harlem, where he wrote the school song, which was used until the school closed.
As recounted in "Notes of a Native Son", when he was nine and a half years old, Baldwin wrote a play that was directed by a teacher at his school. Seeing his talent and potential, she offered to take him to "real" plays. This caused some backlash from Baldwin's stepfather, because the teacher was white. His uncertainty was ultimately overruled by Baldwin's mother, who said that "it would not be very nice to let such a kind woman make the trip for nothing." When his teacher came to pick him up, Baldwin noticed that his stepfather was filled with disgust. Baldwin later realized that this encounter was an "unprecedented and frightening" situation for his parents. (O'Reilly)
His middle school years were spent at Frederick Douglass Junior High, where he was influenced by poet Countee Cullen, a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and was encouraged by his math teacher to serve as editor of the school newspaper, The Douglass Pilot. (Directly preceding him at Frederick Douglass were Brock Peters, the future actor, and Bud Powell, the future jazz pianist.)
He then went on to DeWitt Clinton High School, in the Bronx's Bedford Park section. There, along with Richard Avedon, Baldwin worked on the school magazine as literary editor, but disliked school because of the constant racial slurs.
During his teenage years, Baldwin followed his stepfather's shadow into the religious life. However, he became dissatisfied with ministry, considering it hypocritical and racist, and ultimately left the church. The difficulties of his life, including his stepfather's abuse, led Baldwin to seek solace in religion. At the age of 14 he attended meetings of the Pentecostal Church and, during a euphoric prayer meeting, he converted and became a junior Minister. Before long, at the Fireside Pentecostal Assembly, he was drawing larger crowds than his stepfather had done in his day. At 17, however, Baldwin came to view Christianity as based on false premises and later regarded his time in the pulpit as a way of overcoming his personal crises.
Baldwin once visited Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who inquired about Baldwin's religious beliefs. He answered, "I left the church 20 years ago and haven't joined anything since." Elijah asked, "And what are you now?" Baldwin explained, "Now? Nothing. I'm a writer. I like doing things alone." Still, his church experience significantly shaped his worldview and writing. Baldwin reflected that "being in the pulpit was like working in the theatre; I was behind the scenes and knew how the illusion was worked."
Baldwin accused Christianity of reinforcing the system of American slavery by palliating the pangs of oppression and delaying salvation until a promised afterlife. Baldwin praised religion, however, for inspiring some American blacks to defy oppression. He once wrote, "If the concept of God has any use, it is to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God can't do that, it's time we got rid of him." Baldwin publicly described himself as not religious. A recording of him singing "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" a cappella was played at his funeral.
When Baldwin was 15, his high-school running buddy, Emile Capouya, skipped school one day and, in Greenwich Village, met Beauford Delaney, a painter. Capouya gave Baldwin Delaney's address and suggested paying him a visit. Baldwin, who worked at the time after school in a sweatshop on nearby Canal Street, visited Delaney at 181 Greene Street. Delaney became a mentor to Baldwin and under his influence, Baldwin came to believe a black person could be an artist.
While working odd jobs, Baldwin wrote short stories, essays, and book reviews, some of them later collected in the volume Notes of a Native Son (1955). He befriended the actor Marlon Brando in 1944 and the two were roommates for a time. They remained friends for more than twenty years.
During his teenage years Baldwin started to realize that he was gay. In 1948, he walked into a restaurant where he knew he would be denied service. When the waitress explained that African Americans were not served there, Baldwin threw a glass of water at her, shattering the mirror behind the bar. Disillusioned by American prejudice against blacks, he left the United States at the age of 24 and settled in Paris, France. He wanted to distance himself from American prejudice and see himself and his writing outside an African-American context. Baldwin did not want to be read as "merely a Negro; or, even, merely a Negro writer". He also hoped to come to terms with his sexual ambivalence and escape the hopelessness that many young African-American men like himself succumbed to in New York.
In Paris, Baldwin was soon involved in the cultural radicalism of the Left Bank. He started to publish his work in literary anthologies, notably Zero, which was edited by his friend Themistocles Hoetis and which had already published essays by Richard Wright.
He lived in France for most of his later life. He would also spend some time in Switzerland and Turkey. During his life and after it, Baldwin was seen not only as an influential African-American writer but also as an influential exile writer, particularly because of his numerous experiences outside the United States and the impact of these experiences on Baldwin's life and his writing.
Baldwin settled in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in the south of France in 1970, in an old Provençal house beneath the ramparts of the famous village. His house was always open to his friends, who frequently visited him while on trips to the French Riviera. American painter Beauford Delaney made Baldwin's house in Saint-Paul-de-Vence his second home, often setting up his easel in the garden. Delaney painted several colorful portraits of Baldwin. Actors Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were also regular house guests.
Many of Baldwin's musician friends dropped in during the Nice and Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festivals: Nina Simone, Josephine Baker (whose sister lived in Nice), Miles Davis, and Ray Charles, for whom he wrote several songs. In his autobiography, Miles Davis wrote:
I'd read his books and I liked and respected what he had to say. When I got to know him better, Jimmy and I opened up to each other. We became great friends. Every time I was in the South of France, in Antibes, I would spend a day or two at his villa in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. We'd get comfy in that beautiful, big house and he would tell us all sorts of stories...He was a great man.
Baldwin learned to speak French fluently and developed friendships with French actor Yves Montand and French writer Marguerite Yourcenar, who translated Baldwin's play The Amen Corner.
His years in Saint-Paul-de-Vence were also years of work. Sitting in front of his sturdy typewriter, his days were devoted to writing and to answering the huge amount of mail he received from all over the world. He wrote several of his last works in his house in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, including Just Above My Head in 1979 and Evidence of Things Not Seen in 1985. It was also in his Saint-Paul-de-Vence house that Baldwin wrote his famous "Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis" in November 1970.
Baldwin's first published work, a review of the writer Maxim Gorky, appeared in The Nation in 1947. He continued to publish in that magazine at various times in his career, and was serving on its editorial board at his death in 1987.
In 1953, Baldwin's first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, a semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman, was published. His first collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son appeared two years later. He continued to experiment with literary forms throughout his career, publishing poetry and plays as well as the fiction and essays for which he was known.
Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room, caused great controversy when it was first published in 1956 due to its explicit homoerotic content. Baldwin was again resisting labels with the publication of this work: despite the reading public's expectations that he would publish works dealing with the African-American experience, Giovanni's Room is predominantly about white characters. Baldwin's next two novels, Another Country and Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, are sprawling, experimental works dealing with black and white characters and with heterosexual, gay, and bisexual characters.
Baldwin's lengthy essay "Down at the Cross" (frequently called The Fire Next Time after the title of the book in which it was published) similarly showed the seething discontent of the 1960s in novel form. The essay was originally published in two oversized issues of The New Yorker and landed Baldwin on the cover of Time magazine in 1963 while Baldwin was touring the South speaking about the restive Civil Rights Movement. Around the time of publication of The Fire Next Time, Baldwin became a known spokesperson for civil rights and a celebrity noted for championing the cause of black Americans. He frequently appeared on television and delivered speeches on college campuses. The essay talked about the uneasy relationship between Christianity and the burgeoning Black Muslim movement. After publication, several black nationalists criticized Baldwin for his conciliatory attitude. They questioned whether his message of love and understanding would do much to change race relations in America. The book was eagerly consumed by whites looking for answers to the question: What do blacks really want? Baldwin's essays never stopped articulating the anger and frustration felt by real-life black Americans with more clarity and style than any other writer of his generation. Baldwin's next book-length essay, No Name in the Street, also discussed his own experience in the context of the later 1960s, specifically the assassinations of three of his personal friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Baldwin's writings of the 1970s and 1980s have been largely overlooked by critics, though even these texts are beginning to receive attention. Several of his essays and interviews of the 1980s discuss homosexuality and homophobia with fervor and forthrightness.Eldridge Cleaver's harsh criticism of Baldwin in Soul on Ice and elsewhere and Baldwin's return to southern France contributed to the sense that he was not in touch with his readership. Always true to his own convictions rather than to the tastes of others, Baldwin continued to write what he wanted to write. As he had been the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, he became an inspirational figure for the emerging gay rights movement. His two novels written in the 1970s, If Beale Street Could Talk and Just Above My Head, placed a strong emphasis on the importance of Black American families. He concluded his career by publishing a volume of poetry, Jimmy's Blues, as well as another book-length essay, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, which was an extended meditation inspired by the Atlanta Child Murders of the early 1980s.
Social and political activism
Baldwin returned to the United States in the summer of 1957 while civil rights legislation of that year was being debated in Congress. He had been powerfully moved by the image of a young girl, Dorothy Counts, braving a mob in an attempt to desegregate schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Partisan Review editor Philip Rahv had suggested he report on what was happening in the American south. Baldwin was nervous about the trip but he made it, interviewing people in Charlotte (where he met Martin Luther King Jr.), and Montgomery, Alabama. The result was two essays, one published in Harper's magazine ("The Hard Kind of Courage"), the other in Partisan Review ("Nobody Knows My Name"). Subsequent Baldwin articles on the movement appeared in Mademoiselle, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, where in 1962 he published the essay that he called "Down at the Cross" and the New Yorker called "Letter from a Region of My Mind". Along with a shorter essay from The Progressive, the essay became The Fire Next Time.
While he wrote about the movement, Baldwin aligned himself with the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Joining CORE gave him the opportunity to travel across the American South lecturing on his views of racial inequality. Baldwin became so involved in the movement that he was featured on the cover of Time for their Spring release on May 17, 1963. His insights into both the North and South gave him a unique perspective on the racial problems the United States was facing.
In 1963 he conducted a lecture tour of the South for CORE, traveling to locations like Durham and Greensboro, North Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana. During the tour, he lectured to students, white liberals, and anyone else listening about his racial ideology, an ideological position between the "muscular approach" of Malcolm X and the nonviolent program of Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin expressed the hope that socialism would take root in the United States.
By the spring of 1963, Baldwin had become so much a spokesman for the Civil Rights Movement that for its May 17 issue on the turmoil in Birmingham, Alabama, Time magazine put James Baldwin on the cover.[clarification needed] "There is not another writer," said Time, "who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South." In a cable Baldwin sent to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy during the crisis, Baldwin blamed the violence in Birmingham on the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Mississippi Senator James Eastland, and President Kennedy for failing to use "the great prestige of his office as the moral forum which it can be." Attorney General Kennedy invited Baldwin to meet with him over breakfast, and that meeting was followed up with a second, when Kennedy met with Baldwin and others Baldwin had invited to Kennedy's Manhattan apartment. This meeting is discussed in Howard Simon's 1999 play, James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire. The delegation included Kenneth B. Clark, a psychologist who had played a key role in the Brown v. Board of Education decision; actor Harry Belafonte, singer Lena Horne, writer Lorraine Hansberry, and activists from civil rights organizations. Although most of the attendees of this meeting left feeling "devastated," the meeting was an important one in voicing the concerns of the civil rights movement and it provided exposure of the civil rights issue not just as a political issue but also as a moral issue.
James Baldwin’s FBI file contains 1,884 pages of documents, collected from 1960 until the early 1970s. During that era of illegal surveillance of American writers, the FBI accumulated 276 pages on Richard Wright, 110 pages on Truman Capote, and just nine pages on Henry Miller.
Baldwin also made a prominent appearance at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, with Belafonte and long-time friends Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando. The civil rights movement was hostile to homosexuals. The only known gay men in the movement were James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin. Rustin and King were very close, as Rustin received credit for the success of the March on Washington. Many were bothered by Rustin's sexual orientation. King himself spoke on the topic of sexual orientation in a school editorial column during his college years, and in reply to a letter during the 1950s, where he treated it as a mental illness which an individual could overcome. The pressure later resulted in King distancing himself from both men. At the time, Baldwin was neither in the closet nor open to the public about his sexual orientation. Later on, Baldwin was conspicuously uninvited to speak at the end of the March on Washington.
After a bomb exploded in a Birmingham church three weeks after the March on Washington, Baldwin called for a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience in response to this "terrifying crisis." He traveled to Selma, Alabama, where SNCC had organized a voter registration drive; he watched mothers with babies and elderly men and women standing in long lines for hours, as armed deputies and state troopers stood by—or intervened to smash a reporter's camera or use cattle prods on SNCC workers. After his day of watching, he spoke in a crowded church, blaming Washington—"the good white people on the hill." Returning to Washington, he told a New York Post reporter the federal government could protect Negroes—it could send federal troops into the South. He blamed the Kennedys for not acting. In March 1965, Baldwin joined marchers who walked 50 miles from Selma, Alabama, to the capitol in Montgomery under the protection of federal troops.
Nonetheless, he rejected the label "civil rights activist", or that he had participated in a civil rights movement, instead agreeing with Malcolm X's assertion that if one is a citizen, one should not have to fight for one's civil rights. In a 1964 interview with Robert Penn Warren for the book Who Speaks for the Negro?, Baldwin refuted the idea that the civil rights movement was an outright revolution, instead calling it "a very peculiar revolution because it has to...have its aims the establishment of a union, and a...radical shift in the American mores, the American way of life...not only as it applies to the Negro obviously, but as it applies to every citizen of the country." In a 1979 speech at UC Berkeley, he called it, instead, "the latest slave rebellion."
In 1968, Baldwin signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
Inspiration and relationships
As a young man, Baldwin's poetry teacher was Countee Cullen.
A great influence on Baldwin was the painter Beauford Delaney. In The Price of the Ticket (1985), Baldwin describes Delaney as
...the first living proof, for me, that a black man could be an artist. In a warmer time, a less blasphemous place, he would have been recognized as my teacher and I as his pupil. He became, for me, an example of courage and integrity, humility and passion. An absolute integrity: I saw him shaken many times and I lived to see him broken but I never saw him bow.
Later support came from Richard Wright, whom Baldwin called "the greatest black writer in the world." Wright and Baldwin became friends, and Wright helped Baldwin secure the Eugene F. Saxon Memorial Award. Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son" and his collection Notes of a Native Son allude to Wright's novel Native Son. In Baldwin's 1949 essay "Everybody's Protest Novel", however, he indicated that Native Son, like Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, lacked credible characters and psychological complexity, and the friendship between the two authors ended. Interviewed by Julius Lester, however, Baldwin explained, "I knew Richard and I loved him. I was not attacking him; I was trying to clarify something for myself." In 1965, Baldwin participated in a debate with William F. Buckley, on the topic of whether the American dream has adversely affected African Americans. The debate took place at The Cambridge Union in the UK. The spectating student body voted overwhelmingly in Baldwin's favour.
In 1949 Baldwin met and fell in love with Lucien Happersberger (September 20, 1932 – August 21, 2010), aged 17, though Happersberger's marriage three years later left Baldwin distraught. Happersberger died on August 21, 2010, in Switzerland.
Baldwin was a close friend of the singer, pianist, and civil rights activist Nina Simone. With Langston Hughes and Lorraine Hansberry, Baldwin helped awaken Simone to the civil rights movement then gelling. Baldwin also provided her with literary references influential on her later work. Baldwin and Hansberry met with Robert F. Kennedy, along with Kenneth Clark and Lena Horne and others in an attempt to persuade Kennedy of the importance of civil rights legislation.
Baldwin influenced the work of French painter Philippe Derome, whom he met in Paris in the early 1960s. Baldwin also knew Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Billy Dee Williams, Huey P. Newton, Nikki Giovanni, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet (with whom he campaigned on behalf of the Black Panther Party), Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan, Rip Torn, Alex Haley, Miles Davis, Amiri Baraka, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothea Tanning, Leonor Fini, Margaret Mead, Josephine Baker, Allen Ginsberg, Chinua Achebe and Maya Angelou. He wrote at length about his "political relationship" with Malcolm X. He collaborated with childhood friend Richard Avedon on the book Nothing Personal.
Maya Angelou called Baldwin her "friend and brother", and credited him for "setting the stage" for her 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Baldwin was made a Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government in 1986.
Baldwin was also a close friend of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. Upon his death, Morrison wrote a eulogy for Baldwin that appeared in The New York Times. In the eulogy, entitled "Life in His Language," Morrison credits Baldwin as being her literary inspiration and the person who showed her the true potential of writing. She writes:
You knew, didn't you, how I needed your language and the mind that formed it? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn't you, how I loved your love? You knew. This then is no calamity. No. This is jubilee. 'Our crown,' you said, 'has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do,' you said, 'is wear it.'
Early on December 1, 1987, (some sources say late on November 30) Baldwin died from stomach cancer in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. He was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, near New York City.
At the time of Baldwin's death, he had an unfinished manuscript called Remember This House, a memoir of his personal recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Following his death, publishing company McGraw-Hill took the unprecedented step of suing his estate to recover the $200,000 advance they had paid him for the book, although the lawsuit was dropped by 1990. The manuscript forms the basis for Raoul Peck's 2016 documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.
Baldwin's influence on other writers has been profound: Toni Morrison edited the Library of America's first two volumes of Baldwin's fiction and essays: Early Novels & Stories (1998) and Collected Essays (1998). A third volume, Later Novels (2015), was edited by Darryl Pinckney, who had delivered a talk on Baldwin in February 2013 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The New York Review of Books, during which he stated, "No other black writer I'd read was as literary as Baldwin in his early essays, not even Ralph Ellison. There is something wild in the beauty of Baldwin's sentences and the cool of his tone, something improbable, too, this meeting of Henry James, the Bible, and Harlem."
One of Baldwin's richest short stories, "Sonny's Blues", appears in many anthologies of short fiction used in introductory college literature classes.
In 1986, within the work The Story of English, Robert MacNeil, with Robert McCrum and William Cran, mentioned James Baldwin as an influential writer of African-American Literature, on the level of Booker T. Washington, and held both men up as prime examples of Black writers.
In 1987, Kevin Brown, a photo-journalist from Baltimore, founded the National James Baldwin Literary Society. The group organizes free public events celebrating Baldwin's life and legacy.
In 1992, Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, established the James Baldwin Scholars program, an urban outreach initiative, in honor of Baldwin, who taught at Hampshire in the early 1980s. The JBS Program provides talented students of color from underserved communities an opportunity to develop and improve the skills necessary for college success through coursework and tutorial support for one transitional year, after which Baldwin scholars may apply for full matriculation to Hampshire or any other four-year college program.
In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included James Baldwin on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
In 2005, the USPS created a first-class postage stamp dedicated to Baldwin, which featured him on the front, with a short biography on the back of the peeling paper.
In 2012 James Baldwin was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display that celebrates LGBT history and people.
In 2014 128th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues, was named "James Baldwin Place" to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Baldwin's birth. He lived in the neighborhood and attended P.S. 24. Readings of Baldwin's writing were held at The National Black Theatre and a month long art exhibition featuring works by New York Live Arts and artist Maureen Kelleher. The events were attended by Council Member Inez Dickens, who led the campaign to honor Harlem native's son; also taking part were Baldwin's family, theatre and film notables, and members of the community.
In 2016, Raoul Peck released his documentary film I Am Not Your Negro. It is based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. It is a ninety three minute journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights Movement to the present of Black Lives Matter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond.
In 2017, Scott Timberg wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Times in which he noted existing cultural references to Baldwin, thirty years after his death, and concluded: "So Baldwin is not just a writer for the ages, but a scribe whose work—as squarely as George Orwell's—speaks directly to ours."
Together with others:
- Early Novels & Stories: Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, Another Country, Going to Meet the Man (Toni Morrison, ed.) (Library of America, 1998), ISBN 978-1-883011-51-2.
- Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, The Devil Finds Work, Other Essays (Toni Morrison, ed.) (Library of America, 1998), ISBN 978-1-883011-52-9.
- Later Novels: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above My Head (Darryl Pinckney, ed.) (Library of America, 2015), ISBN 978-1-59853-454-2.
- Music/spoken word recordings
- A Lover's Question (CD, Les Disques Du Crépuscule – TWI 928-2, 1990)
- ^Public Broadcasting Service (n.d.). "James Baldwin: About the Author". American Masters. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
- ^"I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO". [dead link]
- ^Jean-François Gounardoo, Joseph J. Rodgers (1992). The Racial Problem in the Works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Greenwood Press. p. 158, pp. 148–200.
- ^ abcde"James Baldwin." Notable Black American Men. Book II. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Retrieved via Biography in Context database, January 14, 2018.
- ^Children of promise : African-American literature and art for young people. Sullivan, Charles, 1933-. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1991. ISBN 0810931702. OCLC 23143247.
- ^Baldwin, J. (1985). "Notes of a Native Son". The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948–1985. Macmillan.
- ^David Baldwin Remembers P.S. 24 School. Vimeo.
- ^"Artist Bios: James Baldwin", Goodman Theatre.
- ^Pullman, Peter (2012). Wail: The Life of Bud Powell. Brooklyn, NY: Bop Changes. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-9851418-1-3.
- ^Bobby Allyn, "DeWitt Clinton's remarkable alumni", City Room blog, The New York Times, July 21, 2009.
- ^Staff. "Richard Avedon", The Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2004 (accessed September 14, 2009). "He also edited the school magazine at DeWitt Clinton High, on which the black American writer James' Baldwin was literary editor."
- ^Baldwin, James (1963). The Fire Next Time. Down at the Cross—Letter from a Region of My Mind: Vintage. ISBN