The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
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The Fire Next Time

Updated: 21 Jan 2021
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.
over 1 year ago
The last book that made you furious? James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.” Nothing seems to have changed. He tells the story of going to the NYC Public Library on Fifth Avenue when he was 10. A cop — as large an authority figure in the world to a 10-year-old — said to him as he was crossing the avenue, “Why don’t you people stay in Harlem where you belong.” Heart-breaking and maddening …
4 months ago
Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. It’s technically two essays but it feels like one. Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.