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To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.
On the anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, we would like to honor the literary genius for his bold and fearless spirit. Baldwin was a pioneer, using his own life experiences and imagination to blaze new trails with his words, reflecting the community in which he came from. With unabashed honesty, he informed White America about the harsh reality of the Black experience in the U.S. and created a space for those living in the margins to be heard through novels like Giovanni’s Room, exploring what was considered to be “taboo” - topics of homosexuality and interracial relationships. Though he grew up in a time much different from our current generation, his words still sting with truth and maintain an essential relevance.
Mr. Baldwin’s work was truly a labor of love. He sought to connect us, forcing us to read and understand each other’s experiences and realize that we aren’t so different after all.