James Baldwin returned to the United States from Paris in the summer of 1957 while the Civil Rights Act of that year was being debated in Congress. In the spring of 1960 the Partisan Review editor Philip Rahv suggested to Baldwin(1924-1987) that he report on what was happening in the American south. I was in grade 10 at the time, in love with a girl around the corner from my house, and had just joined the Baha’i Faith. I knew nothing of James Baldwin.
Baldwin, an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic published an essay in 1962 in the New Yorker. The New Yorker called the essay "Letter from a Region of My Mind". Baldwin also published a shorter essay The Fire Next Time.1
In Baldwin’s first five years back in the USA, from 1957 to 1962, as I say, I had not heard of him. These were my high school years, and in 1962 I was gearing-up for the most demanding year of my academic life, grade 13 in Ontario with its nine subjects. In 1962-63 four hours of nightly homework were required if I wanted to get into university in 1963. The year 1962 was also my last year of organized baseball for the Burlington All-Stars on the mound. It was also my first year of travelling-pioneering for the Canadian Baha’i community.
In the early 1960s Baldwin aligned himself with the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC). In 1964/65 I had become involved with SNCC while at university in southern Ontario. I got my photo on the front page of The Hamilton Spectator due to my taking part in a protest rally in Toronto, my involvement at the time with SNCC, and my being a student at McMaster university in Hamilton. For a comprehensive and succinct overview of SNCC in the 1960s go to this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student...ting_Committee-Ron Price with thanks to 1Carol Polsgrove, Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement, 2001, pp. 94-99, and 155-156.
By 1965, when I was finishing
2nd year of history-philosophy,
SNCC fielded the largest staff
of any civil rights organization
in the South organizing direct
all segregated facilities…..and
voter-registration projects, in:
Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland,
Missouri, Louisiana, Virginia,
Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois,
N. & S. Carolina, Georgia, &
activists in….that "New Left."
SNCC wanted all sorts of change
in American society. But by 1966
I was completing my degree in
sociology; SNCC had changed
its policy of non-violence to a
black supremacist hatred of all
whites1 platform…..And I was
ensconced in a wider, a global
ideology with a different policy
agenda that would determine the
direction of my remaining years
from Canada to the antipodes!!!2
2 By the late summer of 1966 I had decided to be a part of the Baha’i teaching program in the Canadian Arctic. In September 1966 I was the vice-chairman of the elected body of the Baha’is of Windsor Ontario, and was being mentored by Jameson Bond, a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Windsor. This was part of my commitment to being a primary school teacher in the District of Franklin and a Canadian pioneer to that region.
Last edited by RonPrice; 09-03-2014 at 12:03 PM.
Reason: to add some words
married for 41 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 49. I have three books on the internet all available free.