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James Baldwin

Biography: 

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was an American writer and civil rights advocate. After briefly working as a minister and as a railroad employee, Baldwin moved to Greenwich Village. There, he began working as a freelance writer, during which time The Nation and Partisan Review published his reviews. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, published in 1953, depicts a poor boy’s coming of age in 1930s Harlem. Many of his nonfiction works, particularly The Fire Next Time, which explored issues of black identity and the struggle for racial equality, dealt with concerns that were central to the civil rights movement. Baldwin, who spent much of his life in France, also broached the then-taboo themes of homosexuality and interracial romance in his novels and works of nonfiction.

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