Two years ago I read Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.’s exceptional book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own. Glaude delves deeply into the mind, heart and soul of Baldwin, one of the 20th Century’s great American thinkers and writers.
Glaude’s penetrating account of Baldwin’s life and legacy inspired me to write this essay in 2021 on something I find remarkable and inspiring about James Baldwin: his undying faith in humanity despite all the tragedy and suffering he witnessed so closely and felt so deeply throughout his life. Baldwin’s faith in the potential for human renewal is reflected in the title of Glaude’s book: Begin Again. Baldwin also speaks to that faith in a phrase he once spoke in an interview….