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James Baldwin
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James Baldwin
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  • James Baldwin’s short story, Sonny’s Blues, is included in many textbooks of introductory college literature.
  • …assaults upon their indwelling guilt during an era of unalleviated discomfort which ended officially on a morning in August, 1963, when on North Water Street in Edgartown, Massachusetts, the youngish, straw-haired, dimple-kneed wife of the yacht-club commodore, a prominent Brahmin investment banker, was seen brandishing a copy of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time as she uttered to a friend, in tones of clamp-jawed desolation, these words: "My dear, it’s going to happen to all of us!"
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • I was reminded by Walt Whitman to think of the past, and I awaited "The Fire Next Time" with James Baldwin.
    Wes Moore  --  The Other Wes Moore
  • My plans, maybe just my dreams really, had been to go to college, and to write like James Baldwin.
    Walter Dean Myers  --  Fallen Angels

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  • At the end of James Baldwin’s story "Sonny’s Blues" (1957), the narrator sends a drink up to the bandstand as a gesture of solidarity and acceptance to his brilliantly talented but wayward brother, Sonny, who takes a sip and, as he launches into the next song, sets the drink on the piano, where it shimmers "like the very cup of trembling."
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • As the writer James Baldwin noted: "There was a moment in time and in this place when my brother, or my mother, or my father, or my sister had to convey to me, for example, the danger in which I was standing from the white man standing just behind me, and to convey this with speed and in a language the white man could not possibly understand, and that, indeed, he cannot understand today."
    Robert MacNeil and William Crane  --  Do You Speak American?
  • James Baldwin’s wonderful short story "Sonny’s Blues" deals with a rather uptight math teacher in Harlem in the 1950s whose brother serves time in prison for heroin possession.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • From Paris, where he had long exiled himself to escape racial friction, James Baldwin wrote to the Mew York Times: "A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.
    Robert MacNeil and William Crane  --  Do You Speak American?
  • James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston—all had been called upon to write an essay addressing the "problem" of being a "Negro" writer.
    Toni Morrison  --  Sula
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