The New Yorker originally published James Baldwin’s ‘Letter from a Region in My Mind’ in the November 17, 1962 issue, and circulated it again on May 31, 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and those of countless others, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests.
Throughout his life, Baldwin examined the root causes of systemic racism and articulated their effects in words that cannot be denied: “Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality.” He also wrote, “In short, we, the black and the white, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation—if we are really, that is, to achieve our identity, our maturity, as men and women.”
Here before our very eyes we have two black and white images of these men alongside their words, in black and white of course—written nearly 60 years ago, and revealing all their humanity—while we as a nation remain face-to-face with the very same black and white issue.
Once again we are being called on to unite. Because the reality is that we are either both winning, or both losing.
“The revolution will be live.” -Gil Scott-Heron