North Carolina Newspapers

    NTER TO lEARN. oePART TO SERVE
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
December, 1976
ISoted Black Author Visits
James Baldwin Raps With Rams
James Baldwin
“Your style is the way that
you look at the world. Trust
your vision...” - James
Baldwin
James Baldwin, who is
considered one of the finest
black writers of today, spoke
before a crowd of anxious and
alert Rams on November 9. As
people pushed and shoved
their way into the Ballroom of
the Student Union, all eyes
and ears were eagerly
awaiting the arrival of the
WSSU Band Welcomes Carter
WSSU Majorette and Carter...
WSSU mjyorette, Geraldine Gates, and then Democratic presidential candidate
Jimmy Carter join hands to form an arch as one of Carter’s Secret Service protective
agents walks onder the arch. Carter had just arrived for a Democratic rally at the
Benton Convention Center. |AP Wirephoto - Herald, Durham, N.C., 10/20/76.)
In early October, Jimmy
Carter made his first appear
ance in Winston-Salem. This
visit was part of his
presidential campaign. The
now president-elect arrived at
the Smith-Reynolds Airport in
his privately owned plane he
called “The Peanut One”. A
large crowd came to the
airport to welcome and
support Mr. Carter. The
Winston-Salem State Univer
sity Marching Rams had been
invited to play for the
occasion. The band played
several selections including
“Everything is Coming Up
Roses” and “Harvest for the
World.” Jimmy Carter walked
around thanking members oi
the band for coming out to
greet him.
The president-elect depart
ed only minutes after his
arrival to prepare for his
campaign speech later that
evening at the Benton
Convention Center.
unique and talented James
Baldwin.
After moments of staring
toward the empty stage, the
announcer finally introduced
Mr. Baldwin. Upon entering
the stage, the talented Mr.
Baldwin faced his audience in
a very relaxed manner. The
audience rose to their feet
with earth-shaking applauses
as their admiring and
intellectual star greeted them
with a smile.
The short and rather thin
James Baldwin, in a very shy
manner said, ‘‘I would like to
take this time to have a
question and answer period,
although 1 know that I can not
answer all your questions.”
The Rams seemed to like this
idea and before too long
questions were being thrown
back and forth, from corner to
corner, and even from the far
back of the room.
One of Mr. Baldwin’s fans
wanted to know where his
hometown was and what he
considered his greatest piece
of work. Mr. Baldwin stated
that he was from New York
City and with a shy smile
replied, ‘‘My greatest piece ol
work is the work that I’m
working on.”
When Mr. Baldwin was
asked to state some of his
views of Jimmy Carter, he
hesitantly replied, ‘‘1 know
little about him. It was the
black vote however, that put
him into office. He is debted to
us.” As Mr. Baldwin turned to
recognize another hand, he
puffed on his cigarette and
responded to a question
concerning his start as a
writer. He stated that the only
way to become a writer was to
begin to write. He acknow
ledged that he had worked
several odd jobs. “1 got small
things published here and
there. After publishing my
first novel, 1 was well on my
way.”
Although Mr. Baldwin did
not attend college, his
response to the question, “If
you had been educated do you
think you would have been a
better writer?”, led the Rams
to shouts of laughter and
bursts of applause. With a
smile on his face as though he
had anticipated the response
of the crowd, Mr. Baldwin
replied, ‘‘I believe that if 1 had
attended college my life would
have been more confused!”
Aside from being a well
known writer, Mr. Baldwin
has had the opportunity to
visit various countries. *He
briefly discussed some of his
views on the United States as
compared to those of other
countries. Mr. Baldwin stated
that he left the U.S. in 1948 for
the first time. His first stop
took him to Paris where
everything appeared to be
rationed. Mr. Baldwin found
himself miles away from
everything that he had known.
He was compelled with the
fear that he would never see
his country again. A country
that he missed very despe
rately. He felt that the
doctrine of ‘‘White Supre
macy” came from Europe and
that ‘‘The real agony of it all
was due to a failure of
identity.” Mr. Baldwin felt
that American tragedy was the
American effort to pretend
that a certain boy, girl, woman
or man, were not really
humans, but mules. This
Baldwin called ‘‘A recipe for
madness!”
Memories from Baldwin’s
i hildhiKid seemed to excite the
crowd as he replied, “When 1
was growing up, it was a
blessing for me never to have
gone to Africa. My father was
a black Baptist preacher and 1
seemed to be trapped in the
fantasy of white minds. We
were not born in that fantasy
however. We survived be
cause of what was handed
down to us.” Baldwin stated
in a dignified manner that his
novel. Return to the Mountain
was written as a result of
things he had experienced
throughout his early life. “I
was born in church or raised in
the church because 1 once was
a preacher. From age 17 to 34
1 was in constant battle trying
to deal with my parents and
See BALDWIN, Page 7
    

Page Text

This is the computer-generated OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It may be empty, if no text could be automatically recognized. This data is also available in Plain Text and XML formats.

Return to page view