|James Baldwin at his desk|
Here's the opening to The Fire Next Time, written in the form of a letter to his nephew, James:
"I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother. Like him, you are tough, dark, vulnerable, moody--with a very definite tendency to sound truculent because you want no one to think you are soft."
Baldwin's essays have appeared in a number of anthologies over the years, including The Best American Essays of the Century and The Norton Book of Personal Essays. Anthologies are a great way to explore unfamiliar writers and genres. The library owns anthologies of poetry, essays, stories and more, including many anthologies dedicated to the work of African-American writers. Below are just a few of them:
The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature
The Best African American Essays, 2010
Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Like My Sister Kate: Looking at the Harlem Renaissance through Poems
Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers
Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor
To see additional African-American literature anthologies, click here.
Which African-American writers have expanded your world, inspired you with their sentences, or, since this is African American History Month, enhanced your understanding of our nation's history?