5 things to know about iconic novelist James Baldwin

African-American novelist, playwright and essayist James Baldwin would have turned 92 today.

His inspiring writings explored racial tensions, spirituality, equality and sexuality.

Among his works are “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” “Giovanni’s Room,” and “The Evidence of Things Not Seen.”

Here are 5 things to know about the Harlem-born Baldwin.

  • In his early life, Baldwin followed his stepfather into the pulpit. As a teen, he preached in a small church for three years before leaving home at 18 to work on the railroad.
  • Baldwin finished his first novel, “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” in 1953 in a village in Switzerland.
  • The FBI compiled a 1,884-page dossier on the well-known author.
  • Baldwin debated William F. Buckley at the Cambridge Union Society, Cambridge University, in 1965 on “Has The American Dream Been Achieved at the Expense of the American Negro?”
  • He died of stomach cancer on Dec. 1, 1987, St. Paul-de-Vence, France

Watch the 1963 debate between Baldwin and William F. Buckley here.

Related:

Why does James Baldwin matter now?

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