James Baldwin

The life of James Baldwin!

Baldwin Events

Jame's Baldwin is born

August 2, 1924

Emma Berdis marries David Baldwin


Berdis had divorced Baldwin's biological father because of drug abuse three years earlier.

Young Baldwin becomes a Pentacostal preacher at 14


Bldwin joined the church because of the abuses of his stepfather and the difficuties of his life. He converted during a prayer meeting and soon became junior ministor, drawing larger crowds than his father did.

Became Aethiest


Baldwin came to view Christianity as falsley premised, but later accredited it to helping him through his personal crisis.

Stepfather dies of tuberculosis


The funeral was on Baldwin's 19th birthday.

Moved to Paris, France to escape American oppression


His move to Paris inspired his later book Giovanni's Room.

Go Tell It on the Mountain is published


Baldwin's first and most famous novel. Go Tell It on the Mountain examines the role of the Christian Church in the lives of African-Americans, both as a source of repression and moral hypocrisy and as a source of inspiration and community. It also, more subtly, examines racism in the United States.

Notes of a Native Son written


Collection of essays written by James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room published


Baldwin's second novel. Giovanni's Room is noteworthy for bringing complex representations of homosexuality to a reading public with empathy and artistry, thereby fostering a broader public discourse of issues regarding same-sex desire. Giovanni's Room was written in a time well before same-sex relationships were even discussed and was controversial not only for its subject, but its content.

Sonny's Blues written


A short story written by Jame's Baldwin that focuses around the characters of Sonny and Brother.

Another Country is published


James Baldwin's third novel. he novel tells of the bohemian lifestyle of musicians, writers and other artists living in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s. It portrayed many taboo themes such as bisexuality, interracial couples and extramarital affairs.

The Fire Next Time written


Book long essay that deals with both race and religion

Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone is published


Baldwin's fourth novel. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been gone, like Baldwin's other novels and essyas, deals with the struggle of racial oppression.

No Name On the Street written


Baldwin's third non-fiction book. The book is made up of essays that deal with Algerian war and Albert Camus's take on it, Francisco Franco, McCarthyism, Martin Luther King's death, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

If Beale Street Could Talk is published


Badlwin's fifth novel. This book is a love story set in Harlem in the early 1970's.

The Devil Finds Work written


Another book-length essay written by Baldwin. This book is both a memoir of his experiences watching movies and a critique of the racial politics of American cinema.

Just Above My Head


James Baldwin's sixth novel. The novel tells the life story of a group of friends, from preaching in Harlem, through to experiencing 'incest, war, poverty, the civil-rights struggle, as well as wealth and love and fame—in Korea, Africa, Birmingham, New York, Paris.

The Evidence of Things Not Seen is written


A non-fiction book about the Wayne Williams Atlanta child murders of 1979-1981.

Dies of cancer in France


James Baldwin succumbs to esophageal cancer. It is debated whether it was in early December or late November.

World Events

Great Depression



1938 - 1945

World War II

1939 - 1945

Cold War

1947 - 1991

Korean War

1950 - 1953

Algerian War

1954 - 1962

Algerian independence movement against France. Was mentioned in Baldwin's essay, No Name in the Street.

Berlin Wall erected


US, USSR, and Great Britain agree to do above ground Nuclear testing


Beatles Storm America


Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981

1979 - 1981

A series of murders committed in Atlanta, Georgia, United States from the summer of 1979 until the spring of 1981. Over the two-year period, a minimum of 28 African-American children, adolescents and adults were killed. Atlanta native Wayne Williams, also African-American and 23 years old at the time of the last murder, was arrested for and convicted of two of the murders. Inspired Baldwin's non-fiction book Evidence of Things Not Seen.

Berlin Wall Falls