Friday, September 18, 2009

Essay: "Notes of a Native Son." James Baldwin. 1955.

Essay: “Notes of a Native Son.” James Baldwin. 1955.

Ten-second review: Baldwin struggles with his hatred of whites. He recognizes that hatred is self-destructive, and concludes that he must accept life and people as they are, without rancor. But he is resolute that he will not stop fighting injustice.


“…that the bitterness which had helped to kill my father could also kill me.”

“There is not a Negro alive who does not have this rage in his blood.”

“…that my life, my real life, was in danger, and not from anything other people might do but from the hatred I carried in my heart.”

“Then I remembered our fights which had been the worst possible kind because my technique had been silence.”

“…and Harlem exploded.”

“…the Negro’s real relation to the white American.”

“Hatred which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law!”

Comment: The Negro’s hatred for American whites is raw in the words of James Baldwin. RayS.

Best American Essays of the Century. Editors: Oates and Atwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000.

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