The best of: James Baldwin

(August 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987)


Born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York, James Baldwin was exposed to the multicultural diversity of the U.S. at an early age. The oldest of nine children and growing up in poverty, Baldwin recalls "know[ing] I was black, of course. but I also know I was smart. I didn't know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use." After working an odd number of jobs including being a preacher and railroad worker, Baldwin settled as a freelance writer in the Greenwich Village. Having lived a life of racial tension thus far, James Baldwin decided to take a step-back and move to Paris where he hoped to find enough distance to write about the racial issues in America.

In 1957, Baldwin returned to the states to cover the Civil Rights movement, soon becoming a figurehead and spokesman during a crucial point in the social climate of mid-twentieth century America. Baldwin’s work served as important commentary in the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, he was one of the leading literary voices for the movement, standing alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

James Baldwin was one of the first to voice the concerns many people chose to ignore, he shed light on the most uncomfortable and portrayed it in a way people could easily relate and understand. In today's society, Baldwin’s voice and words ring true more than ever. Long since his passing, James Baldwin continues to influence millions, including celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and Yara Shahidi. They give their support and love for James Baldwin by sharing his scripture and image.

Yara Shahidi and James BaldwinSamuel L Jackson and James Baldwin

Martin Rosenthal first discovered and fell in love with Baldwin after reading “The Fire Next Time”. Inspired, Marty created a design after him, where as many would create something called "decorative art", Marty created “substantial art". Substantial art revolves around delivering a feeling deep within, beyond the surface, something that truly encapsulates and speaks the heart of James Baldwin.

We here at Em & Ahr believe in the ideas and change that James Baldwin wanted to see within this world. In our efforts to spread the awareness and word of Baldwin, we are offering 10% off all James Baldwin designs when you share it with friends/family. In addition, 5% of all proceeds will be donated to the organization of your choice in order to support the movement for social equality. Click here to learn more about the charity organizations and movements.

Change is long awaited and we believe it's time we all became a part of it. As Baldwin once said, “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

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