James Baldwin was born in Harlem New York, August 2nd 1924. His mother left his biological father because of drug use, and marries a pastor David Baldwin and had eight children with him. His family was very poor, and Baldwin’s stepfather was harder on him than any of his other children. Baldwin had always been smart, and because of his constant ridicule from his father, Baldwin spent most of his time in the library. At thirteen, Baldwin wrote his first article called “Harlem—Then and Now” which was published in his school newspaper. Baldwin attracted lots of attention to himself from his educators, and when he was nine wrote the play for his elementary school. His teacher that directed this play told him that she could take him to real plays, and his stepfather was very suspicious. Much of “Notes of a Native Son” talks about Baldwin’s stepfather, and goes into depth on how his stepfather hated and feared white people. The summer of 1943 Baldwin’s stepfather died of tuberculosis, and the funeral was the day the Harlem riot of 1943 broke out. As a teen, Baldwin seeked solidarity in religion, going to meetings and attending the pentecostal church. He drew even larger crowds than his stepfather, however, Baldwin eventually denounced christianity, stating that it reinforces the system of American slavery by disguising the seriousness of oppression by stating African Americans will not find salvation until afterlife. During these years and his adult years, this was when Baldwin started discovering himself more, and eventually concluded he was gay. Baldwin’s disgust of America took to light during this time, tired and aggravated of the constant mistreatment and the feeling of utter terror, he left for France. “When he talks about that constant threat of death and of dogged dehumanization that he experienced in America, with that over his shoulder, he couldn’t write,” she said. “Going abroad let him … be a writer and let him see America from a different angle. That outsider position that he seemed to frequently occupy in almost every group he was in is an important part of that and certainly his sexual identity and orientation is also big part of that.”(Simon) Baldwin wrote several books during this time, his first true published work was a review of Maxim Gorky who was a writer, which appeared in The Nation in 1947. Baldwin wrote Go Tell It on the Mountain in 1953 which was his first novel. Baldwin’s second novel. Giovanni’s Room was written in 1956, and went against the readings public’s expectation of him (writing about the African-American experience) and wrote this book predominantly about white characters. Is next two novels following, Another Country and Tell me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, involve white, black, heterosexual, gay, and bisexual characters. Baldwin’s writings during the 70s and 80s, during some of the most critical times of the LGBT community have been completely overlooked. Several of the essays written during this period involved homosexuality and homophobia with intense passionate feelings and going straight to the point. This is something extremely uncommon with Baldwin’s writings, which were reserved and questioning, calm and strategic. Many critics claimed Baldwin “lost touch” with his readers, however, Baldwin was simply becoming a voice, a leader, in the emerging LGBTQ+ rights movement, as he was in the civil rights movement. Baldwin’s life revolved around the civil rights movement, and that was what he was most known for, commenting on what was happening in America and writing novels and papers addressing the situation. He joined CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and traveled across America giving lectures on racial equality. Baldwin was so well known in the movement that he was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Baldwin was able to voice the thoughts of thousands of African-Americans throughout america during the civil rights era. He was able to write, speak, and show himself in such an understandable and civilized way that it reached the ears of people who would have otherwise turn their heads to the struggle of African-Americans. Baldwin was outspoken, wiring Robert F. Kennedy, getting in contact with Mississippi’s senators, J. Edgar Hoover, and many other people. However, even though he was such an activist and a voice promoting black solidarity, the civil rights movement was hostile towards homosexuals. The only known gay men that were a part of the civil rights movement known to the public was Baldwin and Bayard Rustin who was credited for the success of almost every large march, including the march on Washington. However, many people were bothered by both Baldwin and Bayard’s orientation, and it lead to many civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, to distance themselves from people who have helped and supported his movement and goal towards equality. It was many years later that Baldwin died, December 1st, 1987. The writer died from stomach cancer in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, where he lived most of his adult life. He was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, near New York City. During the time of his death Baldwin had an unfinished manuscript called “Remember This House” which was a memoir of his personal views and recollections of the civil rights leaders such as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. This manuscript was what started, formed, and created the screenplay for Raoul Peck’s 2016 film “I Am Not Your Negro.” It goes without saying that James Baldwin’s legacy will always be remembered not just a part of African-American history, but as American, LGBTQ+ history, and world history. Section II: Author’s Rhetoric Baldwin’s collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son, reminisces upon memories that he collected throughout his life. While Baldwin could have easily chosen to use simple phrasing and common words, he gave deep description and elaborate writing to draw the reader into his story, but not to the extent that he would lose the readers. In one passage, he writes that, “and, with that sound, my frozen blood abruptly thawed…and I was frightened” (Baldwin). This sentence gives the reader a vivid image in their head of what Baldwin felt at that time, but it was not overly wordy and complex. Notes of a Native Son becomes even more congenial as Baldwin includes many personal phrases, notably the word I. His inclusion of I gives the sense that he is telling a story as if you were there to experience it first hand. This personal connection gives the essays a close feeling, similar to a story told by long time friends when meeting after years apart. Even though the topic of the writing may not be quite so happy, Baldwin’s writing style brings the reader in close and makes it approachable, which adds to the urgency he is trying to convey. With this, Baldwin is able to connect to a wide range of readers, including people outside of the race in which was his target demographic. A writer should intend to establish any sort of credibility with the reader in order for them to become involved. Easily, Baldwin’s credibility is created through his simple introduction, where he spoke truthfully on why he exactly became a writer, and what he knew he was to write about: “when I began, seriously, to write—when I knew I was committed, that this would be my life —I had to try to describe that particular condition which was— is—the living proof of my inheritance. And, at the same time, with that very same description, I had to claim my birthright. I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.” (Baldwin)Baldwin’s word shake the reader to core with this statement. It applies to all people, white, black, gay, straight, and he used this to create not only credibility (because how can you not see how credible this man is stating such an empowering yet humbling affirmation?) But help him establish a deep relationship with the reader without even knowing them. While the book itself is one large anecdote, through the numerous small anecdotes given, the reader the idea that this . For instance, the inclusion Baldwin remembering the name of a movie he had gone to see, and even the mention of the irony of that title in hindsight, is a detail that gives the impression that this event is still remembered and fresh in his mind, although it is well established that these were simply memories Baldwin had written to explain the African-American experience. Baldwin conveys the quickness and significance of his experiences through the use of terse diction, notably during the action of the writing. The situations Baldwin had gone through, anybody would be thinking in brief, direct thoughts. To further represent his and emotional thinking, Baldwin utilized many choppy sentences in comparison to what he had used while there was no intensity. He uses phrases such as, “I kicked him and got loose and ran into the streets. My friend whispered, ‘Run!’, and I ran”. (Baldwin) Baldwin spoke directly, quickly, there wasn’t much more that you needed to know and it intensified the emotion in the situation. It intensified the readers utter dread, knowing that something absolutely horrible had happened.Section III: Analysis of Work Throughout Notes of A Native Son, Baldwin explores the desperate sense of inheritance and belonging African Americans strive for in American society. Baldwin argues that black Americans’ relationship to their own country and heritage is unlike that of any other people in the world because “his past was taken from him, almost literally, at one blow.” Because of the systematic erasure of African traditions and black family relationships during slavery (and in the decades after), African Americans have been denied a tie to their own ancestry. At the same time, the intense racism that continues to dominate life in the United States means that African Americans are also made to feel alienated in the only country that they can truly call home. Baldwin explores his own highly critical feelings about America throughout the book, making it indisputably clear that “Negroes are Americans and their destiny is the country’s destiny.” Baldwin went into extensive conversation over his stepfather, who he had a troubled and ultimately negative relationship with. His relationship with his father was a direct parallel with his relationship to America. He felt distanced, afraid, trapped, and shunned from both America and his father, who would treat him worse than any of his other children. This could be for many reasons, was his father afraid of Baldwin’s intelligence? Was his father afraid of how “educated”and “advanced” and “well-spoken” his son has become? How he could ultimately out perform him? Yes, to say the least, and so is American society when applied to all African-Americans. In the words of James Baldwin himself, “they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses,” Baldwin was speaking on behalf of America, loving their chains. Chains, of course, is a metaphor for oppression, hatred, anger. Chains is a metaphor for continuing the prejudice and hatred towards black people and people who do not “conform” to American society. Chains is a metaphor for the American mindset. Many African-Americans in the united states have accepted these chains sense they could walk free from slavery, and James Baldwin’s father was one of these people. They allowed the American mindset to set in, and to let themselves believe that they were lesser. Baldwin’s relationship with both America and his father make it hard for him to feel a connection and identity that comes with national belonging and a family heritage. Baldwin has to forgive and make peace with his father in order to find contentment and move forward with his life. Just as America has to make peace and approach and recognize their deep history of genocide, slavery, and racism in order to move forward and create a better future for African Americans and all other people of color. This book can help qual the sense of homelessness, hopelessness and marginalization that African-Americans experience. In recording his pursuit of cultural tradition and “inheritance” in writing, Baldwin deliberately shapes black American culture, heritage, and identity. He proposes that although African Americans have been uniquely stripped of their sense of belonging and inheritance, they have the power to assert their own identity and traditions which are just as significant in their own right, and just as important to the American culture.