With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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James Baldwin was born in 1924 in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where he grew up in poverty. At twenty-nine Baldwin came into his prime as a writer and critic of race relations in the U.S. with his autobiographical novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, and during the 1960s he was a leader in the civil-rights movement. He lived in France for much of the last fifteen years of his life and died of stomach cancer in 1987.
Then Creole stepped forward to remind them that what they were playing was the blues. He hit something in all of them, he hit something in me, myself, and the music tightened and deepened, apprehension began to beat the air. Creole began to tell us what the blues were all about.
You know, and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free.