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No Name in the Street by James Baldwin
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No Name in the Street (original 1972; edition 2007)

by James Baldwin (Author)

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269171,531 (4.1)24
This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works.  In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain--the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.… (more)
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Title:No Name in the Street
Authors:James Baldwin (Author)
Info:Vintage (2007), Edition: Reprint, 208 pages
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No Name in the Street by James Baldwin (1972)

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51. [462760::No Name in the Street] by [[James Baldwin]]
published: 1972
format: 123 pages inside [323902::Collected essays]
acquired: December 2018
read: Oct 15-18
time reading: 5 hr 39 min, 2.8 min/page
rating: 5

While not Baldwin‘s best essay collection (see [The Fire Next Time]), this is a favorite for me. It‘s melancholy, an end of an era book. Baldwin writes about the assassinated (Medgar Evers, MLK, Malcom X and others), the incarcerated (Huey Newton, etc), and about his failed attempt to make a movie on Malcolm X (his script was the basis of the 1990‘s movie). By 1971 the beaded hippie era has faded, and their failure reflects in other American failures.

To some extend Baldwin is continuing his usual themes—attacks on the the lunacy of American conservatives, the American south, the inauthenticity of American liberals (his main readers?). Add Hollywood. But he had met, spoken with, debated with all these lost heroes of the Civil Right era and sees it all as a failure and as both a national and personal loss. America is still sick and in denial. Trump would not surprise him. It‘s a slow, single essay mulling on this, with an intense and powerful conclusion that still very relevant. Glad to have read it.

2019
https://www.librarything.com/topic/312033#6947096 ( )
  dchaikin | Apr 18, 2020 |
What is important about Baldwin's essays is the style and eloquence with which he evokes the torment and human devastation of American racism and his ability to make us feel, if only momentarily, that redemption is possible.

In "No Name in the Street," Baldwin's prose is often mesmerizing and, though they seem less shocking and disturbing now, there are passages that are as candid, insightful and moving as any in his previous essays.
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Mel Watkins (Feb 10, 1972)
 
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Epigraph
His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the stree: he shall be driven from light into darkness and chased out of the world.

JOB 18: 17 - 18
Dedication
For Berdis Baldwin

and

Beauford DeLaney

and

Rudy Lombard

and Jerome

First words
"That is a good idea," I heard my mother say.
Quotations
Yet, hope—the hope that we, human beings, can be better than we are—dies hard; perhaps one can no longer live if one allows that hope to die. But it is also hard to see what one sees. One sees that most human beings are wretched, and, in one way or another, become wicked; because they are so wretched. And one's turning away, then, from what I have called the welcome table is dictated by some mysterious vow one scarcely knows one's taken—never to allow oneself to fall so low. Lower, perhaps, much lower, to the very dregs; but never there.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
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This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works.  In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain--the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.

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