This article examines James Baldwin’s late text The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985) as one of his substantial attempts at “forging a new language,” which he tentatively mentions in his late essays and interviews. As an unpopular and difficult text in Baldwin’s oeuvre, Evidence carries the imprint of a new economy of time, casting the past into the present, and a new economy of space, navigating across other geographies in appraising the serial killings of children in one of Atlanta’s poorest Black neighborhoods. This article suggests that a new economy of time emerges earlier in No Name in the Street (1972), as a result of Baldwin’s self-imposed exile in Europe. The article then analyzes his spatiotemporal logic in the specifics of Evidence with reference to a Black middle class, urbanization, the ghetto, gentrification, and other colonized spaces.
partnership between the A.N.C. and … the N.P. … Such a critical platform can also be used to create a space for leftist politics within the ranks of black South Africa, a space which is desperately needed so that debates about difference can be initiated before therhetoric of ‘unity’ preempts any such critiques. At this point, the insistence upon difference – cultural, political, and ideological – may be all that stands between the masses of exploited black South Africans and the triumvirate … of a newly embourgeoised and entrepreneurial black middle class, the white upper
democracy. Reasonable debate – no matter how contentious and conflictual – is not only tolerable but desirable. In the west this emergence is generally understood to be a late-eighteenth-century phenomenon. 7 In British Guiana a newly dynamic public sphere starts to appear after emancipation in 1838. Nigel Westmaas offers a number of reasons for this development, including the appearance of the first Black newspaper (the Freeman Sentinel ), technological advancements in printing in the colonies, and the rise of a new Black middle class, especially in the later decades
glorification of blackness – by linking race to prowess in matters defiant, sexual, and violent – with virtuoso performances of conspicuous consumption’ (Nightingale, 1993, p. 152 n. 13). The perspective describes the affluent black middle class as similarly alienated and prone to engage in a desperate quest for status by means of consumption. In the 1940s and 1950s, E. Franklin Frazier portrayed middleclass blacks as ‘making a fetish of material things or physical possessions’ to satisfy their longing for recognition and to ‘seek an escape in delusions involving wealth’.10
of non-domination, institutional arrangement may be necessary for relational peace (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction). In the ANC manifesto, the growth of the black middle class is provided as an example of how the lives of the majority of South Africans have improved. It is clear that the ANC means that it is necessary to counter previous domination of the black population with special institutional arrangements, for it suggests that the growth of the black middle class is “due to affirmative action, black industrialization and broad-based black economic
because she was drawing from, in Wilson’s ( 1973 ) terms, a masculine reputation system. Moreover, for over a century the respectable classes have not tolerated the “wantoness” of young black women associated with the streets, yards and dancehalls because they have been perceived to threaten to reverse the gains of the black middle-class, who seek to be recognised as civilised (Edmonson, 2003 ). The fact
which government decisions were dictated by the economic interests of white and black middle-class elites – initially attempted to include lower-class Africans and Indians in solidarity; however, conflicts among ethnic groups at all class levels eventually divided the country. The black “majority” retained ownership and control of the government and economy, thereby subjugating the Indo
encounters with these men had a profound impact upon McKay. 42 Regarding them as too conservative, and too given to petitioning rather than fighting, McKay kept clear of the members of London’s small, but important, black middle class. He preferred the company of the black soldiers and boxers, and comrades at the ISC. Grievances against things British In