Novelist, essayist and playwright James Baldwin was born on Aug. 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York.
Baldwin’s work is best known for its critical explorations of race relations in America and themes of sexuality and religion.
Baldwin became a preacher at age 14, but after graduating high school and moving out of the strict confines of his parents’ home, he moved to New York’s Greenwich Village, immersing himself in the city’s literary culture and discovering his homosexuality.
With the help of friend Richard Wright, Baldwin secured a grant in 1948 that allowed him to move to France and write his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain.
Baldwin died on Dec. 1, 1987, in southern France.
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