When: Tue., Sept. 7, 7 p.m. 2010
James Baldwin's voice emerged in the 1950s as America was beginning to come to grips with institutionalized racism: first violently, then peacefully, then violently. Baldwin drew back the veil on what it meant to be African-American and homosexual. There were civil rights writers who repressed their private lives for fear of persecution; however, Baldwin unflinchingly wrote what he knew and in the process helped liberate himself and those who read his works.
Tonight, UNC-Chapel Hill author and professor Randall Kenan discusses his new book, The Cross of Redemption, a collection of 54 pieces by Baldwin that have never appeared in book form. Kenan, who is also a gay black man, wrote a biography of Baldwin in 1993. Here, Kenan compiled works that provide readers with a range of Baldwin's opinions, including his discourse on the possibility of an African-American president, the blues, boxing, Shakespeare, American religious fundamentalism, anti-Semitism and more. —Rebekah L. Cowell