The James Baldwin Page

Born to a single mother in Harlem Hospital on August 2,1924, James Baldwin rose from his modest beginnings to become one of the most respected American authors of the 20th century. At the age of 14, he began serving as a preacher at the Fireside Pentecostal Assembly in New York City. His early writing led to a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to travel through Europe and begin his first critically acclaimed novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953). Baldwin announced his homosexuality in 1946. The conflict of racial and sexual identity would be recurring themes in his work. Like many African-American artists, Baldwin felt restricted in the United States. He moved to France in 1949. Baldwin eventually became involved in the Civil Rights Movement and gained international fame as an eloquent novelist, essayist, and poet. He died in France in 1987.


  • Major Works – A list of James Baldwin’s major works
  • A Talk to Teachers – Delivered in 1963 as “The Negro Child – His Self-Image”
  • The Berkeley Lectures– Audio files of Baldwin’s speeches at the University of California at Berkeley
  • My Dungeon Shook – A letter to Baldwin’s nephew on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Baldwin's Forward – James Baldwin’s forward to “A Lonely Rage”
  • Buckley vs. Baldwin – A link to the video of William F. Buckley debating James Baldwin at the Cambridge Union in 1965. The topic was “The American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro.”
  • Baldwin's Autobiographical Notes – His own words
  • Radio Interview – Reinhold Niebuhr and James Baldwin are interviewed after "Birmingham Tragedy," the murder of four African American children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.
  • Archives of Works – Essays by and about Baldwin with reviews of his works
  • Sonny's Blues – A passage from the story
  • James Baldwin Quotes – A list of quotes attributed to James Baldwin


Teaching Resources