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Race and the Tragedy of American Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

In this essay, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. addresses the historical and contemporary failures of American democracy. Using the metaphor of “the magician’s serpent,” Glaude brings Walt Whitman’s views on democracy into the full light of America’s failure to resolve the problem of race. Glaude places Whitman’s Democratic Vistas (1871) in conversation with James Baldwin’s No Name in the Street (1972) in order to construct a different sort of reading practice that can both engage with Whitman’s views on democracy and reckon with what George Hutchinson calls Whitman’s “white imperialist self and ideology” as an indication of the limits of a certain radical democratic imagining.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Dennis Ray Knight Jr.

If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities. Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.

James Baldwin Review
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James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Civil Rights Revolution
Nicholas Buccola

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised James Baldwin and the privileged William F. Buckley, Jr. could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in February 1965 to debate race and the American Dream at the Cambridge Union, Buckley—a founding father of the American conservative movement—was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.” For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. In this article I introduce readers to the story at the heart of my new book about Baldwin and Buckley, The Fire Is Upon Us.

James Baldwin Review
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On James Baldwin and the Many Roles in Revolution
Nicholas Binford

Artists, scholars, and popular media often describe James Baldwin as revolutionary, either for his written work or for his role in the civil rights movement. But what does it mean to be revolutionary? This article contends that thoughtlessly calling James Baldwin revolutionary obscures and erases the non-revolutionary strategies and approaches he employed in his contributions to the civil rights movement and to race relations as a whole. Frequent use of revolutionary as a synonym for “great” or “important” creates an association suggesting that all good things must be revolutionary, and that anything not revolutionary is insufficient, effectively erasing an entire spectrum of social and political engagement from view. Baldwin’s increasing relevance to our contemporary moment suggests that his non-revolutionary tactics are just as important as the revolutionary approaches employed by civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, Jr.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the 1965 Cambridge Debate
Daniel Robert McClure

The 1965 debate at Cambridge University between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr., posed the question: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the Expense of the American Negro?” Within the contours of the debate, Baldwin and Buckley wrestled with the ghosts of settler colonialism and slavery in a nation founded on freedom and equality. Framing the debate within the longue durée, this essay examines the deep cultural currents related to the American racial paradox at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Underscoring the changing language of white resistance against black civil rights, the essay argues that the Baldwin and Buckley debate anticipated the ways the U.S. would address racial inequality in the aftermath of the civil rights era and the dawn of neoliberalism in the 1970s.

James Baldwin Review
An Interview with Raoul Peck
Leah Mirakhor

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) takes its direction from the notes for a book entitled “Remember this House” that James Baldwin left unfinished, a book about his three friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.— their murders, and their intertwining legacies. The film examines the prophetic shadow Baldwin’s work casts on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American politics and culture. Peck compiles archival material from Baldwin’s interviews on The Dick Cavett Show, his 1965 Cambridge lecture, and a series of banal images indexing the American dream. Juxtaposed against this mythology is footage of Dorothy Counts walking to school, the assassination of black leaders and activists, KKK rallies, and the different formations of the contemporary carceral state. Our conversation examines Peck’s role as a filmmaker and his relationship with the Baldwin estate. Additionally, we discussed a series of aesthetic choices he fought to include in the film’s final cut, directing Samuel L. Jackson as the voice for the film, the similarities and shifts he wanted to document in American culture since the 1960s, and some of the criticism he has received for not emphasizing more Baldwin’s sexuality.

James Baldwin Review
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Civil rites of passage
Sharon Monteith

), for example. But these films, like Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) and A Huey P. Newton Story (2001), fall outside of the broad (predominantly white) mainstream cinematic tradition. More usually, black activists (CORE and SNCC) and protagonists (Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr.) have been caught in an epistemological drift, their stories dispersed and scattered through narratives in which white

in Memory and popular film
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Yale’s Chronicles of America
Roberta E. Pearson

’ arrival, as well as of the first manifestations of the ‘living history’ movement, when in 1926 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. gave money for the Williamsburg restoration. At a time of contested national identity, then, the colonial period was enshrined as the originary moment of national identity as public institutions and social elites constructed an official culture and official memory to shore up the

in Memory and popular film
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Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

 million at the US box office. However, outside the USA its commercial performance was unprecedented for a three-​hour movie about American political history. Total worldwide takings topped $210 million, but that still was not enough for the naysayers back home. Ironically enough, at least part of the explanation for the public’s endorsement of the film and their broadly solid support of Stone could be found in these same media outlets that were directing fire at the director’s agenda. For example, in a May 1991 Washington Post article, George Lardner Jr –​a leading

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

because it is essentially a love story. The theme is: love beats the demon. The theme is used on t-​shirts and is used on projections: for example, in the scene with the ‘Indian’. Mickey and Mallory are monsters in a sense, but they reflect better because they are surrounded by greater monsters –​people who completely corrupt the system, and kill and murder in their own way –​people such as the policemen represented by Tom Sizemore, the warden represented by Tommy Lee Jones, and the media represented by Robert Downey Jr. I shot two versions of the ending: in one, Mickey

in The cinema of Oliver Stone