James Baldwin Facts

James Baldwin Facts
James Baldwin was an American social critic and novelist whose work focused on racial and sexual and class distinctions in the mid-1900s. He was born James Arthur Baldwin on August 2, 1924, in New York City, New York, to Emma Berdis Jones. His mother left his father because of his drug abuse and married a preacher named David Baldwin. His stepfather was hard on him and he spent a lot of time in libraries. His passion for writing developed young and his first article was published in the school magazine when he was only 13 years old. He experienced racial discrimination at an early age when he was abused by two police officers.
Interesting James Baldwin Facts:
James was treated more harshly by his stepfather. The other 8 children were biologically his mother's and his stepfathers, while James was the only child from his mother's previous relationship.
James Baldwin wrote a play before he was 11 years old. One of his teachers directed the play at his elementary school. This teacher believed in James so much that she took him to professionally produced plays.
James Baldwin attended Frederick Douglas Junior High and studied poetry by Countee Cullen, a Harlem Renaissance poet and leading figure.
James Baldwin also attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He disliked school because of persistent racial slurs but worked on the school magazine as an editor.
As a teen James was religious but this interest became much less by the age of 17. His stepfather had wanted him to become a preacher but he did not follow in his footsteps for long.
At the age of 15 James Baldwin met a painter named Beauford Delany, who became his mentor.
James Baldwin became friends with Marlon Brando in 1944 and were even roommates for a while.
James began writing short stories, book reviews, and essays during his teen years.
At the age of 24, James left the U.S. for Paris because he despised the way African-Americans were treated. He remained in France for most of the rest of his life.
Another reason that James left America was because his best friend committed suicide by leaping off the George Washington Bridge.
When James left for Paris he had only $40 in his pocket.
In 1970 James settled into a home in the south of France. His American friends often visited him there.
James Baldwin became friends with musicians such as Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Josephine Baker, and Ray Charles among many others.
James Baldwin's first novel was published in 1953, titled Go Tell It on the Mountain.
In 1955 James Baldwin's essay collection titled Notes of a Native Son was published.
Giovanni's Room, James Baldwin's second novel, was extremely controversial when it was published in 1956 due to its content.
James Baldwin's work has made a great impact on other writers. Some of his work appears in college literature classes.
James Baldwin has had many honors paid to him for his contribution to literature.
James Baldwin died on December 1, 1987, from stomach cancer.

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