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The Fire Next Time James Baldwin

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					The Fire Next Time
      James Baldwin


  Introduction
  Background
  Discussion Starters
The Fire Next Time
    James Baldwin
       The Fire Next Time: Introduction


If the world expects you to act a certain way,




should you live up to its expectations? Or can you
find a way to be yourself?
         The Fire Next Time: Introduction


The Fire Next Time is a series of essays written by
James Baldwin in the early 1960s.

In the first essay, Baldwin writes a letter to his
fifteen-year-old nephew.



   He is worried
   about his
   nephew’s future.
       The Fire Next Time: Introduction

In the 1960s, it is very difficult to be a young
African American man.

                          Many African
                          Americans find living
                          in America frustrating
                          and humiliating.


                     There is much prejudice.

                     There is much discrimination.
        The Fire Next Time: Introduction

In his own youth, Baldwin faced a similar crisis
about who he could be in America.


                       He feared and hated
                       his father.



                        He didn’t know what to
                        do with his life.
       The Fire Next Time: Introduction


He knew what America
expected him to
become—

a man living in
poverty;

an angry, violent
African American man
on the streets. Lost.
        The Fire Next Time: Introduction


But Baldwin believed African Americans should not
accept this version of their identity,




and that they should work for an America in which
everyone is equal.
The Fire Next Time: Background

             Baldwin uses the one-
             hundreth anniversary of
             the Emancipation
             Proclamation as a way to
             introduce his concerns to
             his nephew.


             In 1863, President Lincoln
             had proclaimed all African
             American slaves free.
      The Fire Next Time: Background

But freedom from slavery was not the same as
freedom from prejudice, oppression,
segregation, and hatred.



African Americans faced all kinds of public and
private discrimination in the years after the
Civil War.
        The Fire Next Time: Background

In the 1950s and 1960s, however, leaders
emerged to push the issue of civil rights as never
before. Important events included:


                       1955: Rosa Parks refuses
                       to give up her seat on a
                       segregated bus.


                       1963: Martin Luther King,
                       Jr., gives his famous “I Have
                       a Dream” speech.
      The Fire Next Time: Background

James Baldwin was part of
this civil rights movement.



His works speak openly
about the causes and
effects of racism and
encouraged people to
confront and discuss these
issues.
       The Fire Next Time: Background

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed, which
gives equal access to public places. It also
prohibits discrimination in employment.


                        The Voting Rights Act
                        of 1965 outlawed the
                        poll tax and other
                        methods intended to
                        discriminate against
                        voters.
        The Fire Next Time: Background


Yet despite these gains, the struggle for full civil
rights continued

and resulted in
conflict and
violence as well
as progress.
        The Fire Next Time: Background


In 1968, Martin Luther
King, Jr., was
assassinated.
Robert F. Kennedy, one
of the movement’s
most important political
figures, was also
assassinated.

By the end of the 1960s, many civil rights efforts
turned violent as race riots erupted in major cities.
  The Fire Next Time: Discussion Starters


Discuss (1)
• How did the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s
  change American society?
• How has American society changed since? How
  have these changes affected relationships
  between races?
   The Fire Next Time: Discussion Starters


Discuss (2)
• Do you think racial stereotypes still exist in the
  United States?
• If so, how are people working to overthrow
  these stereotypes?

				
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posted:6/29/2011
language:English
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