Name: James Baldwin
Distinction: Being a powerhouse of thought and critique on the injustices of American and the intersectionalities of inequality
Brief History: A harsh life in Harlem full of disappointment and racism made a young James Baldwin settle into Paris at the age of 24. As a writer, Baldwin refused to squeeze himself into labels. He wrote as he choose and wrote the kinds of characters he wanted regardless of the expectation he would deal with African-American issues. He wrote many experimental pieces dealing with gay and bisexual characters. But despite that, he was the leading literary voice of the Civil Rights Movement offering harsh critiques of American life.
Importance: He’s important to the black writer because his struggle is our struggle. We are constantly being told what we should write. Baldwin said no and stayed true to himself despite all obstacles. He stuck to his guns on every topic no matter who it upset or brought criticism from. This didn’t always bring positivity into his life, but it cemented his place in the American landscape.