• Marisa Parham deposited 17, or, Tough, Dark, Vulnerable, Moody: James Baldwin on Humanities Commons 4 years, 6 months ago

    In its encounter with James Baldwin across form— “Letter to my nephew,” “Sonny’s Blues,” and archival footage of Baldwin being interviewed by the psychologist Kenneth Clark— this article offers an exploration of how Baldwin’s figuration of children and his own acts of care illuminate the political possibilities of both filiation and affiliation. Moving so effortlessly between caring for Black children and caring about Black communities exemplifies Baldwin’s investment in articulating why the liberation of Black people is important to American liberation more generally. With that in mind, this essay’s explorations are set against a backdrop of historical and contemporary state violence against children, from Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry’s failed meeting with RFK, to Claudia Rankine’s observations of Ferguson, MO in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder.