How James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time still lights the way towards equality The Guardian: Culture
How James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time still lights the way towards equality
The Guardian: Culture
How James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time still lights the way towards equality The Guardian: Culture
How James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time still lights the way towards equality
The Guardian: Culture

The Baldwin-Schapiro juxtaposition is an effective and powerful literary-visual pairing, not unalike the combination of Richard Wright’s words in the 1941 classic 12 Million Black Voices with black-and-white photos from the Security Farm Administration’s Great Depression archive. Schapiro intimately captures many familiar faces – Lewis as a young activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King – at a time when he “was not aware that [King] was going to be one of the most important people of our time”, as he writes in the afterword. He also photographs a nameless nun, and countless black children and activists whose names are either lost to history or deserve to be as well known as Schapiro’s beautiful portrait of Fannie Lou Hamer, or the gorgeous depictions of Baldwin and his smile.

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