Nach der Flut das Feuer: The Fire Next Time
"Baldwins Essays sind wie Brandbomben in Trump-Land." Georg Diez in ›Der Spiegel‹
James Baldwin war zehn Jahre alt, als er zum ersten Mal Opfer weißer Polizeigewalt wurde. 30 Jahre später, 1963, brach ›Nach der Flut das Feuer‹ (›The Fire Next Time‹) wie ein Inferno über die amerikanische Gesellschaft herein – und wurde sofort zum Bestseller. Baldwin rief dazu auf, dem rassi...more
We are what we read as well as what we eat. Because what we read brings us experiences we have never had. As Baldwin says elsewhere, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” Reading The Fire Next Time cannot but change one's experience of the world. Written an half century ago, it sadly remains timeless. Sadly because the position of the black man in the America of white racism has not been rem ...more
The letter to the American people was more compelling to me than the one to his nephew. It discussed the racist realities in the USA, and also religion, Christianity (which James Baldwin adhered to, for a while at least) and the Nation of Is ...more
A beautiful thought process that was written by a wonderful man who sought love to dispense hate. Excellent book and very compelling to read. Enjoyed James Baldwin's writing style. His reflections are very thoughtful as he went deep into topics of black self-identity, religion, American white supremacy. This book, The Fire Next Time, fuels readers to think deeply about our own present time and to confront the realities of it with raw transparency.
I imagine o...more
This little book had been on my long “to-read” list for many years, but when I heard its first essay, “My Dungeon Shook,” was the inspiration for Ta-Nahisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, I moved the book right up to the top. I am glad I did.
At first, though, I was disappointed. The essay “My Dungeon Shook”—the model for Coates epistolary device, the way he addresses his young son directly, as Baldwin once addressed his nephew here—is short, relatively insignificant compared to “Down at the Cr ...more
Baldwin considers this, after he and two friends in their thirties were refused service at a busy bar in O'Hare Airport 'because they were too young.' The ...more
This slim novel speaks volumes. It shouts and exhorts. It’s filled with passion, despair, and hope. The Fire Next Time is essentially a set of two letters, or essays ...more
"God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more ...more
All policeman have by now, for me, become exactly the same, and my style with them is designed simply to intimidate them before they can intimidate me. No doubt I am guilty of some injustice here, but it is irreducible, since I cannot risk assuming that the humanity of these people is more real to them than their uniforms....more
- James Baldwin in 1964
Fuck the police
coming straight from the underground
A young nigga got it bad cause I'm brown
And not the other color, so police think
They have the authori
Too tired, too old, too burdened with the small hells that life hands out so generously in 2020, I thought I did not have it in me anymore to become passionately frustrated with racism and patriarchy and religion's glib power grab ...
And then came James Baldwin's short essay dedicated to his nephew, and IT ALL CAME BACK!
HOW DARE WE CALL OURSELVES HUMANS IF WE FORGET WHAT WE DO TO EACH OTHER?
How dare ...more
I felt most inspired by Baldwin's explicit naming of whiteness and the confidence of his ...more
I'm sure I will revisit this again, possibly even quite soon. It's short but there is so much to unpack and it's so excellently written. I can see why this is a staple of Baldwin's oeuvre and one of the most influential non-fiction works of the last century. ...more
I feel inadequate to review this book. James Baldwin was one of the most insightful and most eloquent writers I have ever read. This book should be required reading material for all Americans. His words are as relevant today as when Mr. Baldwin wrote them. It's time we listen and it's time to do the work of dismantling white supre ...more
from Baldwin: Collection of Essays- The Library of America
This book is Baldwin's opinion on race relations, perceived not only as African American, but as one with a deep insight into human psychology. He was one of the unprecedented writers to express what it was like to be Black in a White society; to discuss with such insight the psychological impediments most Blacks faced; and to realize the complications of Black-White relations in many variant contexts:
He saw t ...more
“White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this—which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never—the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”
“There [the police] s ...more
“Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face, for behind your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces which were his.”
This is from “My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation’”
I chose this quote because it’s universal. When we look at the faces of our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, we see those in our family who came before them.
I remember being shown a beautiful black and white ...more
No more water, the fire next time."
Given that this book preceded the civil rights movement of the sixties, the title feels prophetic, though if you think of the fires we have seen yet again in 2020, you have to think how many fires we'll have have. I’ve read this book a number of times over the years. It’s short and its epistolary approach is accessible and every year it remains sadly relevant on the challenges of being black in white America. I first read it as c ...more
“The treatment accorded the Negro during the Second World War marks, for me, a turning point in the Negro’s relation to America. To put it briefly, and somewhat too simply, a certain hope died, a certain respect for white Americans faded. One began to pity them, or to hate them. You must put yourself in the skin of a man who is w ...more
Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become. It is this individual uncertainty on the part of white American men and women, this inability to renew themselves at the fountain of their own lives, that makes the discussion, let alone elucidation, of any conundrum—that is, any reality—so supremely difficult. The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for rea...more
The above quote, for me, sums up the message at the heart of this book. We are all responsible to life, and not just our own. We all have some accountability for the words we say, the things we do, the people ...more
No more water, the fire next time!"
First published in 1963, this book contains two texts:
• "My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation" is composed as a letter to Baldwin's 14-year-old nephew in which he talks about the black experience in America;
• "Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind" focuses on race and religion (it's very enlightening when it comes to finding out to what prompted Baldwin to write ...more
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.
James Baldwin offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. He was the eldest of nine children; his stepfather was a minister. At age ...more