What is Harlem? What is the big conversation in the world? These were the questions that Artistic Director of New York Live Arts Bill T. Jones asked himself as he read James Baldwin’s Another Country. In the novel, jazz musician Rufus Scott struggles to define himself and his art as he deals with racism and questions of sexuality in New York City. Find out more about why Jones picked this novel as his favorite.
James Baldwin was living in France in 1957 when he heard about Dorothy Counts, a black American teenager who was spat on after enrolling at an all-white North Carolina high school. He immediately vowed to return to the United States to support the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. This video segment chronicles Baldwin’s travels across the nation as he spoke to black Americans about the harsh realities they faced. Through his speeches and in his polemical essay The Fire Next Time, Baldwin became known as an articulate spokesman for the pain of black Americans while also preaching the gospel of equality to both whites and blacks.