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Atonement and James Baldwin

October 17, 1997
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On the second anniversary of the Million Man March yesterday, Nation ofIslam leader Louis Farrakhan urged African Americans to say home on whathe called the Holy Day of Atonement. But today’s rhetoric of atonementstands in marked contrast to the righteous anger of the past. Today, we’regoing to take a special look back at the civil rights movement through thelens of author and activist James Baldwin. Among his works were Giovanni’sRoom and The Fire Next Time. But besides the novels and political tracts,Baldwin became a prominent political activist in the civil rights movement.

Today we’re going to hear two rare recording of James Baldwin. First, we’llhear a debate between Baldwin and Malcolm X. And then we’ll hear a classicspeech from Baldwin recorded back in 1963, one month after the historicMarch on Washington and just days after the Birmingham, Alabama, churchbombing that claimed the lives of 6 young black children.

But first James Baldwin debating Malcolm X.

Tape:

  • JAMES BALDWIN, a giant of African-American literature and theauthor of ??The Fire Next Time, ??Giovanni’s Room, and ??Go Tell It On theMountain. Baldwin was born in 1924 in Harlem, New York.

Story: JAMES BALDWIN ON THE BIRMINGHAM BOMBING="13:11"

We’re now going to hear a classic speech from Baldwin recorded back in 1963,one month after the historic March on Washington and just days after theBirmingham, Alabama, church bombing that claimed the lives of 6 youngblack children.??
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