The extorted black of despotism is emboldened. He vociferates with all his forces a vigorous cry that opulent of emancipating desires, transforms itself into verses and sound all the pain that for generations has been silent. The Harlem Renaissance was a period that turned a scream of pain into a song. James Baldwin, a very important writer and poet of this era, had an extraordinary ability to express through written words, the fatigue and pain that he and his ancestors experienced.
James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, during the Harlem Renaissance. His mother, Emma Berdis Jones, was not married when she gave birth to James in Harlem, New York. Years later, she married David Baldwin, a factory worker and part-time preacher who inherited his last name.
Life was difficult for the Baldwin family. Years after James was born, the United States experienced economic depression that affected the people. Especially, the lower classes and this family group was not an exception. His stepfather, David, ruled his family with a rigid discipline to avoid the dangers that the black population lived. James grew up without the privileges of a childhood full of fun and free time. “I never had a childhood,” he told a reporter, according to Champbell. However, reading was his only escape while he was taking care of his younger siblings.
Baldwin attended Frederick Douglass Junior High School. It was considered an excellent school. His teacher, a Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen inspired him with the works of many black writers of the time. Many of his teachers saw in him a lot of potential for writing. Baldwin graduated from high school in 1942.
At the end of his adolescence, he began to question his sexuality, this was a stage that marked trances in his life and allowed him to define his sexual orientation. As stated by Sussan Henneberg, the author of the source I am using “Growing up as an African American in the middle part of the twentieth century was difficult. Being openly gay was subversive.”
Many major events were happening in his personal life and the world. His father’s health was deteriorating and he could no longer provide support for his family. The United States declared war on Japan and its allies. It was time for Baldwin to step up.
Segregation, racism and social prejudices were the challenges that Baldwin lived. Challenges he lived to tell. His determined way of using the words caught the attention of many Americans. Tired of living in a country in which tyranny was law, he moved to France in 1948. Paris was still suffering from post-war effects. Living an economically stable life was a challenge. But in the middle of the crisis, he met a handsome seventeen-year-old Swiss boy, Lucien Happersberger. Together they moved to Switzerland where Baldwin was able to finish his novel. But the relationship did not last longer.
Many years later, after many works and a countless number of written works, James Baldwin returned to his home in southern France. Where he would die for a cancer of the esophagus on December 1 of 1987. Five thousand people attended his funeral in New York, that was the physical loss of a character who dedicated his life to the struggle for social equality.
His professional life was strongly linked to literature. This African-American writer had enough influence and potential to redeem an entire society from the oppression that was being exercised on it. One of his most famous works was Giovanni’s room. It was the first time that the author included a homosexual relationship. Many editors refused to publish it because they were worried that they would be prosecuted for obsession. It was not until 1956 that an editor, “Dial” published his work and the results were an absolute a success. However, the time of waiting to publish his work was also time dedicated to the creation of another project in 1955. he put together a collection of his previously published essays. He called it Notes of a Native Son.
The success of his novels guaranteed a life full of travels and stays abroad. One day, while reading the newspaper, he finds on the front page of a photography of Dorothy Counts, a young black high school girl in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was being harassed by white students while she was walking into her school. “It made me furious, it filled me with both both hatred and pity, and it made me ashamed … I could not stay longer in Paris,” he said. Baldwin arrived Home in 1957 to fight with many other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
Baldwin returned to New York ready to write his articles. A collection of Baldwin´s essays on civil rights was pubighed in 1961. Nobody Knows my Name was a key work to make him the best-known and most important black writer in America.
His impact on society was very remarkable because he influenced his literary work and his work with important leaders, both black and white, who impacted the Civil Rights Movement.his connection with the Harlem Renaissance is quite strong even though his life as a writer began years after the artistic movement ended. His life was dedicated to writing and to raising the pride of African culture in the United States. Baldwin belonged to a group that was socially excluded and was deprived of inherent rights in a person’s life. He also had a sexual inclination that was not accepted by social standards. that and more, added the contempt that society felt towards him and all the people who are different. Even when changing the world seemed a utopia, this prodigy man achieved with his effort, shape the way in which our society is today. A place that struggles to include everyone and that every day is closer to achieve it
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