172 Boulevard Saint-Germain
75006 Paris, France
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1948 – Struggling writer James Baldwin, 24, feeling prejudiced in his own country by both the color of his skin and his homosexuality, moves from Harlem to Paris, France with only a few dollars in his pocket… and not speaking even a word of french.
He moves from hotel to hotel, until he gets sick – the Corsican tenant of the hotel takes care of him, nursing him back to health for a few months.
Back on his feet, he finds himself frequenting the Saint-Germain café, he encounters fellow African-american author Richard Wright for the first time at Les Deux Magots.
But this is really at the Café de Flore -once inhabited by Jacques Prévert & Jean-Paul Sartre- that he founds his secondary home, writing on the upper room.
1953 – His first novel Go Tell It On The Mountain, started ten years before, revised at the Café de Flore, Hotel Verneuil and finished in Switzerland is finally published.
1955 – Baldwin releases Notes of a Native Son, his first non-fiction book. In this collection of essays previously published in print, he explores race issues in Europe and America.
1956 – Publication of his second novel, Giovanni’s Room, which draws controversy due to its homoerotic content.
1957 – After nine years of self-exile, James returns to the United States and reports about the Civil Right Movement.
His essays quickly spread from Harper’s magazine to The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker ; he soon takes part of the movement, lecturing all across the United States, leading several initiatives and making an appearance at the Civil Rights March in 1963.
A TV movie adaptation of Go Tell it On The Mountain by director Stan Lathan aired on PBS in 1984.
American writer Sion Dayson wrote an essay about James Baldwin, published on VCFA‘s journal Hunger Mountain.
An expatriate in Paris like Baldwin, she blogs about the City of Light on Paris Imperfect and can he hired for freelance work on SionDayson.com.
Dr. Monique Y. Wells proposes a James Baldwin-themed walk on her Discover Paris! tour services.
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