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James Baldwin: A Man For Our Times with Eddie Glaude

Author Eddie Glaude shares the insight and inspiration he has drawn from Baldwin’s writing

‘We must tell the truth till we can no longer bear it.’ – James Baldwin (1924 – 1987)

America is at a crossroads. It is a time of moral reckoning, an opportunity for the nation to choose whether it will become a genuinely multiracial democracy. That’s the view of Eddie Glaude, African American scholar and author of the New York Times bestseller, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own. He believes that Baldwin, the great novelist and essayist who bore witness to American racial strife in the mid-20th century, is a man for our times and that we can look to him for guidance as we think about colonial history, slavery, race and identity.

In March 2022 Glaude came to Intelligence Squared when, in conversation with historian Christienna Fryar, he shared the insight and inspiration he has drawn from Baldwin’s writing. He set out the urgent need to abolish the idea of white America and to confront the truth about the country’s past – slavery and Jim Crow segregation – not to posit the greatness of America, but to establish the ground upon which to imagine the country anew.



Eddie S. Glaude Jr

Distinguished American scholar and author of Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own

James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He frequently appears in the media, as a columnist for TIME Magazine and as an MSNBC contributor. Glaude is the author of a number of books, including Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul. He hails from Moss Point, Mississippi, a small town on gulf coast, and is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Christienna Fryar

Historian of modern Britain, the British Empire and the modern Caribbean

Historian of modern Britain, the British Empire and the modern Caribbean, with particular focus on the postslavery period in the  19th century. She is Lecturer in Black British History at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2020, she was named one of the AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers and has broadcasted on Radio 3 and Radio 4. She is currently writing a history of Britain that is told through its centuries-long relationship with the Caribbean called Entangled Lands: A Caribbean History of Britain.