Thursday, April 13, 2017

James Baldwin’s Archive, Long Hidden, Comes (Mostly) Into View | April 12, 2017

Arts | American writers | African-American culture | Archives

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A page from “The Amen Corner,” a three-act play by James Baldwin, part of his personal papers that are now at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times 
 

James Baldwin died in 1987, but his moment is now. His books are flying off the shelves. He has inspired homages like Raoul Peck’s documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s memoir “Between the World and Me.” Baldwin’s prophetic essays on race read like today’s news. 

And yet a full understanding of this pioneering gay African-American artist remains elusive. While Baldwin’s books are in print, there’s one revealing work that admirers long to read but have mostly been unable to: his letters.

The Baldwin estate has held tight to hundreds in its possession, letting only a few scholars see them. It has almost never allowed any of Baldwin’s correspondence to be published, or given biographers permission to quote a single word. Read more...
 
 

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