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Augie Reads: The Fire Next Time

The following is a list of high-quality web resources, organized by broad theme, curated by Augustana librarians to help incoming first-year students as they read the 2015 Augie Reads book, The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin.

James Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement • Other Prominent Figures of the Civil Rights Movement • 
Nation of Islam Historical PhotographsStatistics on Race in the U.S.
Connections to the Quad Cities and Augustana

James Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement

Library of Congress: Civil Rights Era (1950-1963)

This digital exhibit highlights photographs and historic documents from the Civil Rights Era. Baldwin's groundbreaking book, The Fire Next Time, is placed alongside other key events and figures from the era.

American Masters: James Baldwin

This PBS profile of James Baldwin includes several biographies, film excerpts, a bibliography of his work, and a biographical timeline. Navigate through the site by choosing from the links in the "Inside This Episode" box to the right.

The Poetry Foundation: James Baldwin, 1924-1987

This excellent essay explores Baldwin's literary influence, themes in his life and work, the different forms his writing took, and his reception by critics.

The Paris Review: Interview with James Baldwin

In this in-depth interview with the Paris Review, Baldwin discusses his writing process, the relationship between art and protest, why he left the United States for France, the characters he creates, authors he admires, and more.

American Lives: James Baldwin

NPR talks to Randall Kenan, who edited a collection of Baldwin's essays in 2010. The feature explores Baldwin's identity and rhetoric.

Audio recording: James Baldwin on the Civil Rights Movement

In this 1964 recording archived at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, Baldwin discusses the politics of the Civil Rights Movement. A full-text transcript is included.

New York Times Obituary

Baldwin's obituary in the New York Times includes quotes from his seminal works.

Other Prominent Figures of the Civil Rights Movement

Richard Wright

Richard Wright, an African-American novelist from Mississippi, was a close friend and source of inspiration for James Baldwin.

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison is best known for his highly influential novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953.

Ella Baker, Stokely Carmichael, and SNCC

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded by Ella Baker at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, in 1960. The group was influential in the fight to end segregation in the southern states. Stokely Carmichael, the activist who popularized the term "Black Power," served as chairman of SNCC.

Stanford University's history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Zinn Education Project's biography of Ella Baker

"Stokely Carmichael, A Philosopher Behind The Black Power Movement"

Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine black teenagers who sought to attend the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their attendance was met with such violent protest that President Dwight Eisenhower called in the National Guard to protect them.  Daisy Bates was a leader in the fight to desegregate Little Rock's schools.

Little Rock Nine photo gallery

Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture: Daisy Lee Gatson Bates

Nation of Islam

Nation of Islam (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Baldwin devotes a number of pages to the Nation of Islam, considering its teachings and recounting meetings with its members. From the free, online version of the Britannica, this link leads to an overview of the history, teachings, and leadership of the Nation of Islam.

Elijah Muhammad (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam at the time Baldwin was writing. This is a brief bio of Muhammad from the online Britannica.

What Is the Nation of Islam?

This news article highlights frequently asked questions about the Nation of Islam and responds to them in a concise, accessible way. It was published in the International Business Times in February 2015, at the time of the Nation of Islam's Saviour's Day celebration in Chicago.

Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, c. 1960

This article provides a more in-depth analysis of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam around 1960, two years before The Fire Next Time was published. It was written in by a history professor at Indiana University.

Historical Photographs

Take Stock: Images of Change - Civil Rights

Includes thousands of photographs from the early/mid-1960s, organized by major events and topics.

The Civil Rights Era in the U.S. News & World Report

Some of the magazine's most-requested photographs from this era. Provided by the Library of Congress.

The Civil Rights Movement in Photos

A collection of iconic photos from the Civil Rights Movement. From CNN.

Statistics on Race in the U.S.

These websites will help you explore racial demographics in the United States during the 1960s, currently, and into the future. Data enables you to put into context some of the situations Baldwin talks about in The Fire Next Time.

Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060

This report from the U.S. Census Bureau looks at racial demographics into the future. Race statistics begin on page 9, but the entire report is fascinating.

U.S. Racial/Ethnic Demographics 1960, Today, and 2050
Changing U.S. Racial Demographics

These two pages are part of a website created by Sociological Images. It is designed to encourage people to develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief discussions of compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry. Articles are written by experts in the field.

What's Changed for African Americans since 1963, by the Numbers

This Washington Post news article by Juliet Eilperin commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. She includes several interesting statistics, and the links take you to the original data taken from U.S. Census.

Connections to the Quad Cities and Augustana

Dred Scott Case Had Roots in the Q-C

On page 84 of The Fire Next Time, Baldwin references the Dred Scott decision. Dred Scott was a slave who sued for his freedom in 1858 and lost because the Supreme Court said he was not a citizen. He lived for three years on Arsenal Island, right across the Mississippi River from Augustana College. This article in the Quad City Times, a local newspaper, provides more information.

Augustana and the Civil Rights Movement

Augustana has no direct connection to The Fire Next Time (that we know of), but Augustana students did participate in the Civil Rights Movement. The Afro-American Society (later the Black Student Union) held a Black Power Symposium on campus in 1969 and organized a sit-in protest in President C.W. Sorensen's office in 1972. This article, written in 2010 for the college's 150th anniversary, summarizes those events. We also have several photos from that era.