How Did James Baldwin Influence The Civil Rights Movement?

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“We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something mush more closely resembling a nightmare” (Baldwin 89). It was thoughts like this that provoked activism in one of the most influential Civil Rights advocates in our nation, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It goes without question that King held influence on James Baldwin’s Civil Rights methodology. Even in the presence of more radical ideals, through standing firm in his own beliefs while never ceasing to be inspired, Baldwin was able to create an unprecedented form of “integration” that stands alone. During the 1960’s, Americans were expected to take one of two sides in regards to Civil Rights approaches—integration and separation.…show more content…
Martin Luther King Jr. initially. King believed in passive protesting, as opposed to violence, to catch the attention of white citizens in hopes that they would sympathize with them. This pathos-driven method portrayed African Americans as victims, which went against the message that Baldwin was trying to deliver. In addition, Baldwin was highly skeptical about integration based on past experiences. After the turn of the century, the amount of African Americans and Caucasians residing in the North and South began to even out. In the North, blacks often searched for employment near the center of large cities, which was coincidentally the one place that they could afford to live. White figures of authority used strategic methods in order to keep blacks concentrated in one secluded area of town, such as lower housing cost. In the same way, the New Deal found intricate ways of excluding African Americans from its benefits. In order for the New deal to be passed, it had to receive the votes of Southern democrats, which aim to keep the country segregated. The official ruling excluded agricultural and domestic laborers, which were primarily African American. White Americans were able to reap the benefits of social security and subsidized housing, while African Americans who needed it the most did not. Baldwin feared that another instance like the New Deal would reoccur. He believed that integration in itself would have little to no effect because although blacks and whites were coexisting, the individuals themselves ceased to see eye-to-eye and lacked mutual respect. Integration could potentially be used as a crutch, allowing Americans to argue that racism no longer exists simply because blacks and whites breathe the same air. In addition, it could be argued that King and Baldwin were fighting for two different causes. King fought for African Americans to be able to sit in certain public places while Baldwin fought
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