James Baldwin was one of the most important voices of the twentieth century. From the 1950s to the 1980s his novels, essays, plays, poetry, book and film reviews and public appearances chronicled the civil rights movement, African American life in the U. S. and the emerging gay rights movement. His work wrestled with our most urgent questions; how to forge bonds of deeper knowing and love among family members, with our partners and among blacks and whites. This class will use video as well as written works to explore Baldwin’s world and thoughts. We will watch the award-winning documentary I Am Not Your Negro as well as selected videos of Baldwin’s interviews and speeches. We will read one novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, along with selected essays including Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time. The primary focus of class discussion will be the political and social issues around civil rights, racial equity and black-white relationships raised by Mr. Baldwin’s work. There are two books for the course: James Baldwin: Collected Essays, ed. by Toni Morrison (The Library of America, 1998) and If Beale Street Could Talk, (Vintage International Edition, 2006).