James Baldwin

Born: 2nd August 1924

Died: 1st December 1987

Known for: Being an African American writer, poet, and activist.

He received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

He was made Commander of the Legion of Honour in France.

His novel appears in the TIME Magazine 100 Best Novels list.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin

Life story


Early life


James Baldwin wrote novels, plays, essays, and poems. He was also a civil rights activist, who fought for the rights of Black people in the United States. Baldwin was a religious preacher when he was a teenager, but was not religious when he became older.


When he was a child, Baldwin loved reading. He spent many hours looking at books in the local library. He first wrote a play at school when he was only ten years old. It was performed by students and directed by his teacher.


Becoming a writer


After leaving school, Baldwin moved to Greenwich Village, where lots of other writers lived. He spent most of his days writing and doing lots of little jobs to pay his bills. He moved to Paris to get away from the racism in the U.S. In Paris, Baldwin published his first book. It was called Go Tell It On The Mountain and was published in 1953.


In 1957, Baldwin moved back to the U.S. to work in the civil rights movement. He was friends with the famous Black activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. He wrote about his experiences fighting for Black rights in his books.

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