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  • Writer's pictureIlena Alvarez

The Cool Cat: James Baldwin

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

I don't think anyone can look cooler than James Baldwin looks in this picture.

And as charismatic and classic as he looks on the outside, his mind was even more astonishing. James Baldwin left us with so many gifts by photographing the world (as he saw it) in his writings. Every time I read a piece written by him, I take a moment and ingest it, only to realize that his composition, his syntax, his cadence are simplistic, but not simple in the ideas behind them.

A man surely ahead of his time, he was not afraid to write about taboo topics--including what it meant to be black and gay in America in the '50s. It is said that he was so disillusioned with the state of the social and political affairs in the U.S., that it is the reason for his living out most of his adult life in France.

His oeuvre is as follows:

Go Tell It On The Mountain (1952)

Giovanni's Room (1957)

Another Country (1962)

The Fire Next Time (1963)

Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968)

If Beal Street Could Talk (1973)

Little Man, Little Man

Just Above My Head (1979)

There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been written about James Baldwin, but if you haven't read any of his works, I promise that his words will turn your own thoughts upside down. No matter, it will leave you wanting more.

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