James Baldwin on “Florida Forum” (1963)

The video is a bit grainy, and there is some distracting superimposed text, but this is still pretty great. Wearing a suit so on-point that it could have destroyed televisions across America, Baldwin ventures into the conservative bastion of 1960s Miami and talks about the “Negro Problem” in the passionate yet measured, cerebral tones you may recognize from essays like “Notes of a Native Son” and books like The Fire Next Time. Remember when writers could be well-regarded public figures? Remember that? Me neither. Oh well. Enjoy.

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