Reading James Baldwin on a segregated Southern construction site – Walter Dellinger / Wash Post

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, James Baldwin was a gay black intellectual living and writing essays and novels in New York and Paris. I was a low-income white kid living in North Carolina, being raised by a single mother and working construction jobs to save money for college. Somehow I stumbled onto Baldwin, the subject of a brilliant documentary, Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro ,” up for an Academy Award on Sunday. No writer has had a greater influence on my life.

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