Diversity Book Club: There There
If Beal Street Could Talk (1974) by James Baldwin
The Diversity Book Club ends the 2024 Spring Season with iconic American writer James Baldwin. “The grandson of a slave, Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. He grew up in poverty, but recalls: ‘I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew 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.’ By the time he was fourteen, Baldwin was spending much of his time in libraries and had found his passion for writing.”
(From PBS American Masters James Baldwin Biography 2006 ( https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/james-baldwin-about-the-author/59/ ).
Baldwin wrote If Beal Street Could Talk after the assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcolm X. The book focuses on the bonds that hold Black people together against a backdrop of white racism. The novel tells the story of a young, Black couple whose lives are torn apart by false criminal accusations amid a justice system that is broken. The book was made into a movie in 2018.