I Am Not Your Negro Setting & Symbolism

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Harlem, New York City

James Baldwin grew up in Harlem. In this text, Harlem functions as home, and the only part of America that Baldwin missed when he was in France. He writes, "I missed Harlem Sunday mornings... I missed the music, I missed the style... the way dark eyes watch, and the way, when a dark face opens, a light seems to go everywhere" (14). Harlem is also Baldwin's frame of reference for articulating class struggles within the Civil Rights Movement. He frequently invokes his Harlem upbringing to explain his views on certain issues within the Civil Rights Movement, particularly the divisions of class which existed within it. For example, in describing his first meeting with Malcolm X, he explains "I knew Malcolm only by legend, and this legend, since I was a Harlem street boy, I was sufficiently astute to distrust" (29).

Baldwin explains how being from Harlem...

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This section contains 2,222 words
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