John Professor J
Multicultural Voices in American Literature
James Baldwin; Connections in his literature James Baldwin known to be the grandson of a slave was born in Harlem in 1924. Said to be oldest of nine children, Baldwin grew up in poverty like the many people that connect to his literature, all the while having a troubled relationship with his stepfather who is known as strict and religious. With the belief that “negroes should do in effect what he imagined white people do, own houses, own U.S steel and this is what in effect killed him”(California newsreel). I quote that line because in today society, that is the main focus of a lot of African Americans, many with an entrepreneur’s mindset and will die trying to achieve the things “white people do”. Shocking that these feelings and thoughts are no different from those whom have come before us. As a child, Baldwin would search for an outlet to escape the issues of his neighborhood and life, like many young African American kids do. Most, like myself, choose sports as an outlet, or even music, or drugs and alcohol like the character Sonny. For Baldwin it was different, he elected to use his mind to seek revenge on what society has brought upon him. Using the ideology that “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.” (California newsreel) Spending the majority of his time thereafter in the library, reading. Baldwin’s ideology later leads him to become an important figure to the
African American race with his literature and further down the line to become a “civil rights activist”(European Graduate School). My goal...
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