March 5, 12, 19, April 2, 2016, 3:00-5:00 at Revolution Books and TSION Cafe

Baldwin Biographer, Herb Boyd, at "Baldwin’s America:" A Four-Session Reading-and-Discussion Series at Two Different Venues  

Sponsored by the New York State Council for the Humanities

“But we are unbelievingly ignorant concerning what goes on in our country—to say nothing of what goes on in the rest of the world—and appear to have become too

timid to question what we are told.”

—James Baldwin, from the essay, “Nothing Personal,” in Nothing Personal 
(written with Richard Avedon)

James Baldwin’s works were prescient and are full of contemporary importance, considering the problems of race that continue to trouble what he called “the Republic.” Join host, While We Are Still Here, and Herb Boyd, to discuss Baldwin’s continued significance.

Session 1
March 5, Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Boulevard (at 132nd Street) 

Baldwin in Harlem
This is an overview of the series, and will include a showing of the acclaimed documentary, “Price of the Ticket.”  We’ll set the groundwork for what’s to follow.

Handout: “The Harlem Ghetto” 

(opening chapter from his anthology Price of the Ticket)

Session 2 
March 12, Tsion Café, 768 St. Nicholas Avenue (at 148th Street) 

Baldwin the Essayist

We’ll view excerpts from “The James Baldwin Anthology,” including his debate with Malcolm X. 
Baldwin’s early aspirations, the subsequent book reviews, and his rift with Richard Wright will be discussed.

Handout:  “Harlem—Then and Now,” an essay written by Baldwin when he was in the

ninth grade  
See: Fern Marja Eckman’s The Furious Passage of James Baldwin

(Available at online booksellers and the New York Public Library)

Session 3 
March 19, Tsion Café
Baldwin’s Fiction
“Go Tell It on the Mountain,” with Paul Winfield, will be this session’s film.  We’ll consider how Baldwin’s fiction mirrors his life.

Handout:  “The Death of a Prophet,” is an early work that anticipates Go Tell It on the Mountain and “Notes of a Native Son.”

Session 4
April 2, Revolution Books
Baldwin—Citizen of the World and Civil Rights  
We’ll view clips of Baldwin abroad in France, Turkey, etc.; discuss Baldwin’s last works; and summarize what has transpired from previous sessions.

Handouts:  “Stranger in the Village” depicts Baldwin’s loneliest times in a Swiss village; and excerpts from “Princes and Powers,” his coverage of a Black writers’ conference in Paris. 

Requirements: There will be no exams. Our hope is that those who enroll will make the best effort to attend all four sessions. Please feel free to acquire your own literature on Baldwin and be prepared to discuss it, if you like.

Professor Herb Boyd serves as associate editor of the James Baldwin Review, and is the author of Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography of James BaldwinThe Harlem Reader, and many other titles. He is also While We Are Still Here’s Scholar-Historian-In- Residence.

What Should History Look Like?
Community Participation Forum I

Saturday, October 24, 2015 - 3:30-6:30pm

763 St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem, NY

While We Are Still Here hosted an open forum for members of the community to offer input about how the extraordinary history of Harlem, Sugar Hill, and 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue, specifically, should be presented.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attended and addressed the forum, offering words that encouraged the preservation of Harlem’s vast history. Community members offered suggestions for programming and activities, ranging from curriculums to building plaques to publications and walking tours.

Report Back

Community Participation Forum II

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 3:30-6:30


763 St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem, NY

On October 24, 2015, as a community, we came together to respond to the question, "What Should History Look Like in Harlem." Based on the suggestions that were raised that day, we have come up with initial programming to, hopefully, galvanize concerned citizens..

While We Are Still Here's activities are inspired by the U.N.'s Declaration  on Cultural Diversity and Creativity. It states, heritage in all its forms must be preserved, enhanced, and handed on to future generations as a record of human experience and aspirations....

Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten

CALL US  (929) 266-3952

"Baldwin's America"

James Baldwin