James Baldwin On Being An American Writer


I’m in McKeldin Library right now, thumbing through its bound set of Freedomways magazine. I find where Augusta Strong wrote the article, “Notes on James Baldwin,” for the Spring 1962 issue. (Augusta Strong was listed in the contributor’s page as “a former English teacher and newspaper reporter who is a frequent contributor to Freedomways.”) She cites a Baldwin New York Times essay or interview:

“……to be an American writer today means mounting an underdog attack on all that Americans believe themselves to hold sacred…..it means fighting an astute and agile guerilla warfare with that American complacency which so inadequately masks American panic.” Furthermore, he says, the writer must “dismiss any hopes of winning a popularity contest,” and he adds, “….one must take it upon one’s self the right to be entirely wrong ….and accept penalties, for penalties there will certainly be.”

3 responses to “James Baldwin On Being An American Writer

    • THANKS, Leon!

      And I agree with the late, great Amiri Baraka: writer’s block just means you should go do something else for a while, and come back to writing later that day, or something. 🙂

      If you are interested in more on Baldwin and Baraka and writing, please check out my audiobook!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s