Born August 2, 1924 James Arthur Baldwin was an African American novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet. With novels published such as Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s room, Another Country, and Tell Me How Long The Train’s been Gone, Baldwins work has forever been immortalized in my heart.
Baldwin to me is what Rainbow Rowell is to YA reader lovers. Being both black and gay I find that my identities arent always represented in novels, it’s typically an either or. With Baldwin he masterfully gets my the angst I felt growing up with the duality as of being both black and gay while raised in a religious household. Baldwins novels often provoked thought with his imaginative writing and always challenging the status qou. Living during the Civil rights era Baldwin’s work often reflected the racial climate of his time. While many argue that he often hid behind white face (Writing characters who are white in hopes of getting published and more notoriety) his work is still none-the-less great.
I remember first reading his novel Giovanni’s room and realizing that their was an author out there who got it. Who understood where I was coming from and where I’ve. And while I realize that I’ve never been to Paris, nor am I a white gay male,. something about this book clicked with me. When we talk about authors and publishers who pushed the status qou and made way for LGBTQ novels, his name should be among the list of other like Larry Kramer, Rita Mae Brown, E. M Foster, and so many more!