“There I was, drinking Scotch with James Baldwin …”
In 1983, Russell Steven Powell, then 28, interviewed writer James Baldwin, 59, as Baldwin began teaching at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Their conversation touched on subjects ranging from writing and aging to technology, and most of all, to race.
At the time, Baldwin was working on a book about the murders of 28 black American men, women, and children in Atlanta from 1979 to 1981. As America grapples with immigration and race relations in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Baldwin’s words remain relevant, even prophetic, today.
My Interview with James Baldwin includes a new introduction by Powell, and a photograph of Baldwin in his Hampshire apartment, taken shortly after the interview by Michael Zide.