Annotated Bibliography: James Baldwin

Baldwin, James. Notes of a native son. Vol. 39. Beacon Press, 1984.

Baldwin (15) emphasizes the value of freedom as part of humanity and causes that impact on the development of civilization. The freedom cannot “be legislated,” and fulfillment cannot be “charted.” The article emphasizes the extent of racism in which the Blacks (Negros) are forced to endure in an unequal society. The spread of racial injustices presents a vice in which should not be tolerated in the society. Also, the centrality of equal power in the article is fundamental to ascertain that such vices “must never, in anyone’s life, accept such injustices as a commonplace but must strive to fight them with all the one’s strength possible” (19). The article questions the American Dream in which the new society created is expected to cause the disappearance of the inequalities that trigger vengeance (21). Thus, posit a path in which the oppressor will change. Hence, create a path in which bitterness is eliminated or resolved. 

Bigsby, C. W. E. “The divided mind of James Baldwin.” Journal of American Studies 13.3 (1979): 325-342.

Bigsby (325) analyzes the Key works of James Baldwin, a man who found himself transformed into the principal spokesman of the Civil Rights movement. Bigsby, in his analysis, finds the central theme in which Baldwin’s works have been centered revolves on racism – one which drove him to France and forces him to leave as an expatriate and prejudices that characterize the Black-White relations. The struggles endured in the Black revolt are instrumental in shaping the life, career, and character of Baldwin. According to Bigsby (326), Baldwin struggles with a dividend mind amid the profound battles he had to endure in the era of increased racism and revolt. Thus, the capacity to end or reduce racism is critical to paving the way for freedom and equality in society. 

Freeburg, Christopher. “James Baldwin and the Unhistoric Life of Race.” South Atlantic Quarterly 112.2 (2013): 221-239.

Freeburg (221) summarizes Baldwin’s works with the argument “that white supremacy is a historical trap which legally and socially debases bot whites and blacks.” From the texts, if the whites could recognize that the very approach they use to discriminate other affects them negatively as well, would strive to release themselves from it practice in the society. Freeburg (221) notes that Baldwin, as the spokesperson of the Black people, strives to change the historically “trapping” vice through transforming laws, social justice, and equality. Thus, racism is a vice that should not be allowed to exist in society.

Jones, Beau Fly. “James Baldwin: The struggle for identity.” The British journal of sociology 17.2 (1966): 107-121.

Jones (107) notes that Baldwin’s main question and the problem has been embedded in his struggles “to define his identity as an American Negro writer and as a spokesman for his people.” The capacity to understand one’s identity, one ought to first understand his cultural heritage. The understanding of the past is fundamental to make the present coherent (107). Jones argues that, the only way one can forge ahead and prepare for the future is only by understanding the present. The article evaluates the Negro-white relationship amid the prejudices and racism that Baldwin expounds through both personal experiences and literary freedom. The theme of freedom, equality, and social structures is central to Baldwin’s works. Thus, knowledge and academic development are based on the value of productive, progressive insights into the problems that adversely affect society.

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