I Am Not Your Negro - Ch. 1: Paying My Dues Summary & Analysis

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Summary

In this chapter, Baldwin explains why it was necessary to come back to the United States. He recalls watching 15 year old Dorothy Counts, the first African American student to be integrated into the public school system of Charlotte, North Carolina. "One of us should have been there with her!" (12) he writes, obviously distressed. He remembers feeling an obligation to return and “pay his dues” in the American civil rights struggle, and describes the image of Dorothy Counts, sitting proud but alone, with history "jeering, at her back" (12). Baldwin describes this as the moment “I knew I was leaving France. I could, simply, no longer sit around in Paris discussing the Algerian and the Black American problem. Everybody else was paying their dues, and it was time I went home and paid mine” (13). With this realization, Baldwin moved back to the United...

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This section contains 779 words
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Buy the I Am Not Your Negro Study Guide
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