Today would have been the 91st birthday of James Baldwin. On one hand, he’s on a U.S. postage stamp; on the other hand, a lot of young people have not have heard of him, and that’s a tragedy.
One reason (and if you know James Baldwin you know there are a hundred gazillion reasons) but one reason that he continues to inspire us was he thought and attempted to express through poetry and art those universal truths that everyone knows and understands yet occasionally get lost in the fog on the horizon. He lifted that fog through his words. Whether it was speaking to the French as an American or speaking to White people as African American or speaking to straight people as a gay man, somehow he forced through poetry and brazen conviction everyone to see the truth that was in front of them even if they didn’t want to look at it for long. He brought truths into view. We need more James Baldwin’s. Great people who help keep us looking and thinking beyond the horizon.