James Baldwin

James Baldwin, France, 1979, Dmitri Kasterine
James Baldwin, Saint-Paul de Vence France, 1979, Dmitri Kasterine

from Our Man Jimmy: Amiri Baraka on James Baldwin, 2007 for PEN America:

In these days of American Weimar, with a counterfeit president for a fake democracy, it is a deeply inspiring and absolutely necessary weapon and shield of true self-consciousness against an oppressor nation, its lieutenants, deranged pets, hired killers, artists, academic courtesans, and the dangerously uninformed, to reflect on the obvious grandeur, wisdom, and strength of that tradition of the Afro-American intellectual, artist, teacher—and know that it is revolutionary and democratic. Jimmy B. is high up in that tradition.

Because if we’d read and understood Baldwin, we knew that couched and loaded within his sermonic expression, his public stature, was a deep religious regard for righteousness and a moral opposition to evil anywhere it appeared.

(And that RING!)