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Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 12:46 pm
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Fab 10/10, glimpse of (hu)man's delight in scientific achievement.
Social and political activism
Baldwin returned to the United States in the summer of 1957 while civil rights legislation of that year was being debated in Congress. He had been powerfully moved by the image of a young girl braving a mob in an attempt to desegregate schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Partisan Review editor Philip Rahv had suggested he report on what was happening in the American south. Baldwin was nervous about the trip but he made it, interviewing people in Charlotte (where he met Martin Luther King Jr.), and Montgomery, Alabama. The result was two essays, one published in Harper's magazine ("The Hard Kind of Courage"), the other in Partisan Review ("Nobody Knows My Name"). Subsequent Baldwin articles on the movement appeared in Mademoiselle, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, where in 1962 he published the essay that he called "Down at the Cross" and the New Yorker called "Letter from a Region of My Mind". Along with a shorter essay from The Progressive, the essay became The Fire Next Time.
External audio National Press Club Luncheon Speakers, James Baldwin, December 10, 1986, speech: 05:22-20:37, National Press Club
While he wrote about the movement, Baldwin aligned himself with the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Joining CORE gave him the opportunity to travel across the American South lecturing on his views of racial inequality. Baldwin became so involved in the movement that he was featured on the cover of Time for their Spring release on May 17, 1963. His insights into both the North and South gave him a unique perspective on the racial problems the United States was facing.
In 1963 he conducted a lecture tour of the South for CORE, traveling to locations like Durham and Greensboro, North Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana. During the tour, he lectured to students, white liberals, and anyone else listening about his racial ideology, an ideological position between the "muscular approach" of Malcolm X and the nonviolent program of Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin expressed the hope that Socialism would take root in the United States.
By the spring of 1963, Baldwin had become so much a spokesman for the Civil Rights Movement that for its May 17 issue on the turmoil in Birmingham, Alabama, Time magazine put James Baldwin on the cover. "There is not another writer," said Time, "who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South." In a cable Baldwin sent to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy during the crisis, Baldwin blamed the violence in Birmingham on the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Mississippi Senator James Eastland, and President Kennedy for failing to use "the great prestige of his office as the moral forum which it can be." Attorney General Kennedy invited Baldwin to meet with him over breakfast, and that meeting was followed up with a second, when Kennedy met with Baldwin and others Baldwin had invited to Kennedy's Manhattan apartment (see Baldwin–Kennedy meeting). This meeting is discussed in Howard Simon's 1999 play, James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire. The delegation included Kenneth B. Clark, a psychologist who had played a key role in the Brown v. Board of Education decision; actor Harry Belafonte, singer Lena Horne, writer Lorraine Hansberry, and activists from civil rights organizations. Although most of the attendees of this meeting left feeling "devastated," the meeting was an important one in voicing the concerns of the civil rights movement and it provided exposure of the civil rights issue not just as a political issue but also as a moral issue.
James Baldwin’s FBI file contains 1,884 pages of documents, collected from 1960 until the early 1970s. During that era of illegal surveillance of American writers, the FBI accumulated 276 pages on Richard Wright, 110 pages on Truman Capote, and just nine pages on Henry Miller.
Baldwin also made a prominent appearance at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, with Belafonte and long-time friends Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando. The civil rights movement was hostile to homosexuals. The only known gay men in the movement were James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin. Rustin and King were very close, as Rustin received credit for the success of the March on Washington. Many were bothered by Rustin's sexual orientation. King himself spoke on the topic of sexual orientation in a school editorial column during his college years, and in reply to a letter during the 1950s, where he treated it as a mental illness which an individual could overcome. The pressure later resulted in King distancing himself from both men. At the time, Baldwin was neither in the closet nor open to the public about his sexual orientation. Later on, Baldwin was conspicuously uninvited to speak at the end of the March on Washington.
After a bomb exploded in a Birmingham church three weeks after the March on Washington, Baldwin called for a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience in response to this "terrifying crisis." He traveled to Selma, Alabama, where SNCC had organized a voter registration drive; he watched mothers with babies and elderly men and women standing in long lines for hours, as armed deputies and state troopers stood by—or intervened to smash a reporter's camera or use cattle prods on SNCC workers. After his day of watching, he spoke in a crowded church, blaming Washington—"the good white people on the hill." Returning to Washington, he told a New York Post reporter the federal government could protect Negroes—it could send federal troops into the South. He blamed the Kennedys for not acting. In March 1965, Baldwin joined marchers who walked 50 miles from Selma, Alabama, to the capitol in Montgomery under the protection of federal troops.
Nonetheless, he rejected the label "civil rights activist", or that he had participated in a civil rights movement, instead agreeing with Malcolm X's assertion that if one is a citizen, one should not have to fight for one's civil rights. In a 1964 interview with Robert Penn Warren for the book Who Speaks for the Negro?, Baldwin refuted the idea that the civil rights movement was an outright revolution, instead calling it "a very peculiar revolution because it has to...have its aims the establishment of a union, and a...radical shift in the American mores, the American way of life...not only as it applies to the Negro obviously, but as it applies to every citizen of the country." In a 1979 speech at UC Berkeley, he called it, instead, "the latest slave rebellion."
In 1968, Baldwin signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
Views on segregation in the South
James Jackson Kilpatrick (1920–2010) was a well-known newspaper editor in Richmond, Virginia, who was a leader in supporting segregation and the control of the South by whites only. MacLean states: "The National Review made Kilpatrick its voice on the civil rights movement and the Constitution, as Buckley and Kilpatrick united North and South in a shared vision for the nation that included upholding white supremacy." In the August 24, 1957, issue, Buckley's editorial "Why the South Must Prevail" spoke out explicitly in favor of temporary segregation in the South until "long term equality could be achieved." It argued that "the central question that emerges... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race." His answer was that temporary segregation in the South was a good idea now (in 1957) and the black population lacked the education, economic, or cultural development for racial equality to be possible, claiming the white South had "the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races." Two weeks after that editorial was published, another prominent conservative writer, L. Brent Bozell Jr. (Buckley's brother-in-law), wrote in the National Review: “This magazine has expressed views on the racial question that I consider dead wrong, and capable of doing great hurt to the promotion of conservative causes. There is a law involved, and a Constitution, and the editorial gives White Southerners leave to violate them both in order to keep the Negro politically impotent."
In 2004, he attempted to clarify his comments, saying: "[T]he point I made about white cultural supremacy was sociological" and, linking his usage of the word "advancement" to its usage in the name NAACP, continued: "The call for the 'advancement' of colored people presupposes they are behind. Which they were, in 1958, by any standards of measurement." Buckley softened his arguments by the mid 1960s, a change caused in part because he became appalled at the violence used by white supremacists during the Civil Rights Movement, and in part because of the influence of friends like Garry Wills, who confronted Buckley on the morality of his politics. However, Buckley continued to downplay structural racism and place a large amount of blame for lack of economic growth on the black community itself, most prominently during a highly publicized 1965 debate with the African-American writer James Baldwin at the Cambridge Union. His opposition to the civil rights movement became framed more in support of states' rights and against judicial review of state actions rather than in terms of cultural differences.
In the late 1960s, Buckley disagreed strenuously with segregationist George Wallace, who ran in Democratic primaries (1964 and 1972) and made an independent run for president in 1968, and debated passionately against Wallace's segregationist platform in a broadcast on Firing Line. Buckley later said it was a mistake for National Review to have opposed the civil rights legislation of 1964–65. He later grew to admire Martin Luther King, Jr. and supported creation of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day national holiday for him. During the 1950s, Buckley had worked to remove anti-Semitism from the conservative movement and barred holders of those views from working for National Review.
In 1962, Buckley denounced Robert W. Welch Jr., and the John Birch Society in National Review as "far removed from common sense" and urged the Republican Party to purge itself of Welch's influence.
I am surprised this kind of debate even existed in 1965. I won't rate the video as I didn't watch its entirety as it was too long for my ADD. I watched Baldwin for 10 minutes and liked what he said. I tired more quickly when watching Buckley as he was slow getting to the point.
It made me taste smoke and barbecue sauce for some reason.
Have actually seen this one before. Very well made and humourous! Whoever made it spelled "Haribo" wrong though. It is the name of British sweets. My favourite bit is "Help me help me someone!" at the end.Red wrote: ↑Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:47 pmIt made me taste smoke and barbecue sauce for some reason.