From age 14 to 16 he was active during out-of-school hours as a preacher in a small revivalist church, a period he wrote about in his semiautobiographical first and finest novel, After graduation from high school, he began a restless period of ill-paid jobs, self-study, and literary apprenticeship in Greenwich Village, the bohemian quarter of New York City.He left in 1948 for Paris, where he lived for the next eight years.Baldwin did not feel that his speeches and essays were producing social change.
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(In later years, from 1969, he became a self-styled “transatlantic commuter,” living alternatively in the south of France and in New York and New England.) His second novel, magazine gave over almost all of its November 17, 1962, issue to a long article by Baldwin on the Black Muslim separatist movement and other aspects of the civil rights struggle.
James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in New York City’s Harlem and was raised under very trying circumstances.
Baldwin’s oratorical prowess—honed in the pulpit as a youth—brought him into great demand as a speaker during the civil rights era.