If I’d been born in Mississippi, I might have come to New York. But, being born in New York, there’s no place you can go. You have to go out. Out of the country. And I went out of the country and I never intended to come back here. Ever. Ever.
Baldwin lived in Paris for eight years. Away from America, he was free to explore, through his experiences and his writing, what it meant to be American.
Photo: portrait of James Baldwin as he delivered an address during a West coast tour to benefit of CORE, May, 13, 1963. Photo by Jeff Goldwater, Los Angeles Public Library, Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection