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All Those StrangersThe Art and Lives of James Baldwin$
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Douglas Field

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384150.001.0001

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Radical Baldwin and the FBI: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Power

Radical Baldwin and the FBI: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Power

Chapter:
(p.45) {Chapter 2} Radical Baldwin and the FBI: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Power
Source:
All Those Strangers
Author(s):

Douglas Field

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384150.003.0003

Chapter 2 begins with an analysis of Baldwin’s substantial FBI files in order to raise several related points. Why did the Bureau monitor Baldwin so closely? What can his files tell us about Baldwin and about the way African-American writers were viewed by the authorities during the civil rights movement? Can we read the files as a political biography of Baldwin? Or do the FBI files simply tell us much more about the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover-particularly, in their dubious activity during the struggle for civil rights? The chapter then examines Baldwin’s involvement in black radical politics and explores the ways that his race and sexuality impacted his reputation and development as a writer, particularly as the Black Power movement gathered momentum in the late 1960s.

Keywords:   J. Edgar Hoover, FBI, African American writers, race, sexuality, Black Power movement, civil rights movement

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