Scope and Content
Title: James Baldwin correspondence
Identifier/Call Number: Mss 329
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
Language of Material:
0.2 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1970-1987
The collection is comprised of correspondence and photographs which provide insight into some of James Baldwin's social and
political activism mainly in the 1970s.
UC Santa Barbara Library, Special Research Collections
Baldwin , James, 1924-1987
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
[Identification of Item], James Baldwin correspondence, Mss 329. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library,
University of California, Santa Barbara.
James Baldwin is one of the most renowned and influential African American writers of the twentieth century. Born on August
2, 1924, in New York City, Baldwin grew up in Harlem and developed a passion for reading and writing. His life in segregated
poverty and a lifetime of discrimination was channeled into his writings. In the 1940s, Baldwin started getting essays and
short stories published in national periodicals such as
The Nation and
Partisan Review. As an adult, his novels, poems, and essays explored the complexities and challenges of racial strife and prejudice during
a pivotal moment in United States history. Baldwin embarked on the exploration of the black experience just as the Civil Rights
Movement was gaining momentum; so his works served as achingly poignant insight into the intricacies of American culture and
examination of the psychological effects of racism and segregation. Throughout the years Baldwin's work touched upon the inteconnectivity
of tension in race, gender, sexuality, and class. His works included
Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953),
Notes of a Native Son (1955),
Giovanni's Room (1956),
Another Country (1962), and essay, turned published book,
The Fire Next Time (1963). Around the early 1960s, Baldwin became more entrenched in social and political activism and used his popularity to
become a spokesperson for civil rights and advocate the cause of African Americans. For example, Baldwin aligned himself with
the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and conducted
a lecture tour in Southern states for CORE. Baldwin continued to be a proponent of social justice and prolific writer until
his death on December 1, 1987 in Saint-Paul de Vence.
Scope and Content
The collection is comprised of the correspondence and photographs of James Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, poet, and
playwright who was also a prominent activist from the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s to his death in 1987. This collection
specifically contains letters to and from Baldwin regarding his support or soliciting his support for political justice organizations,
Black Panthers, unions, and incarcerated activists during the 1970s. The collection notably includes description of organizations
and their strategies to free incarcerated African Americans like Tony Maynard, Angela Davis, George Jackson, Amiri Baraka,
Harold Rogers, and others.
The collection of letters are arranged chronologically. The folders are titled by subject name or correspondent.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), Davis, 1944-
Jackson, George, 1941-1971
King, Coretta Scott, 1927-2006
Styron, William, 1925-2006
African American authors
African Americans--Civil rights
Civil rights--United States