Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Abiodun Oyewole Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 3 Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and Esmeralda Santiago - Authors and Literary Works

Author: Rudolfo Anaya
Work: Bless Me, Ultima
Author: James Baldwin
Work: The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues," and "The Rockpile"

 

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James Baldwin

Photo courtesy of the estate of James Baldwin
One of the best known African American writers of the 20th century, James Baldwin has been celebrated for both his fiction and nonfiction. A rallying voice for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Baldwin was a master polemicist against social injustice as well as an accomplished novelist, playwright, poet, short story writer, and children's book author. Much of his writing explores the destruction people can wreak upon one another through hatred, and extols the saving power of love and brotherhood.

Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin was the son of a domestic worker and a father he never knew. When Baldwin was three, his mother married a factory worker who was also a minister. At 14, Baldwin became a minister at a small church in Harlem. "Those three years in the pulpit -- I didn't realize it then -- that is what turned me into a writer, really, dealing with all that anguish and that despair and that beauty," he later wrote. Critics have often pointed to the influence of the church in his writing, both in his recurrent themes of redemption, and in his cadences and style.

An avid reader who published his first story in a church newspaper when he was 12, Baldwin left home at 17 and moved to Greenwich Village. His first novel, the partly autobiographical Go Tell It on the Mountain, was published in 1953 to great critical acclaim. The essay collections that followed -- Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1963), and The Fire Next Time (1963) -- made him known to a larger, white audience.

In 1948 Baldwin moved to France. "I left America," he wrote in 1959, "because I doubted my ability to survive the fury of the colour problem here ... I wanted to prevent myself from becoming merely a Negro; or even merely a Negro writer." In Paris, he was befriended by the writer Richard Wright, also an African American, and through him, Baldwin was introduced to the American expatriate arts community. He lived in the south of France for most of the rest of his life, although he returned regularly to the United States to lecture and teach. Though he was a "black writer" before the Civil Rights Movement and a "homosexual writer" before the Gay Rights Movement, Baldwin nonetheless saw himself as an American writer first and foremost. He died in 1987.

Works by the Author

top NextWork: The Fire Next Time,
"Sonny's Blues," and "The Rockpile"


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