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James Baldwin's America

Society-and-culture • Arts • Music

James Baldwin was one of the most important writers and activists of the 20th century. In James Baldwin's America, Jesse James will discuss the importance of Baldwin's work in our current social and political climate. Baldwin's reach in society was far and wide, and to gain a complete picture ofRead more

Popular episodes

James Baldwin, America, and the Presidential Election

Nov 3 • 18:30

Jesse spends this week previewing the upcoming Presidential election in America and playing some clips of Baldwin talking about America, hope, and progress.

You can also make a donation to Jesse and the show via PayPal at: All donations will be used to offset the production costs of the show and are greatly appreciated....

James Baldwin and A Talk to Teachers Part 2

Oct 27 • 36:57

Jesse talks about the upcoming presidential election in the United States and how the outcome needs to unify us regardless of who holds office. He then dives back into Baldwin's essay, 'A Talk to Teachers' and how and why it is still so relevant in 2020. 

Songs of the Week:

Public Enemy:
Fight the Power 2020

Billie Holiday:
Strange Fruit


James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers, and a Microphone

Oct 19 • 31:20

This week Jesse talks about Baldwin's essay, 'A Talk to Teachers' and the relevance it still holds to this day. He then uses his platform (microphone) to discuss the burden of being Black that children in this country face at far too young of an age. He also talks about the importance of the upcoming election in the United States.

Song of the Week:

Louis Armstrong:
West End ...

James Baldwin, Solomon Roller, and the Creative Process for a Dancer

Oct 12 • 51:28

Jesse is joined this week by dancer Solomon Roller. The two discuss The Fire Next Time, growing up in a bi-racial family, the importance of finding 'a tribe,' dancing as freedom, and happiness. Jesse then talks about a Baldwin passage from The Price of the Ticket and the difficulties Baldwin faced as he tried to bear witness to America.

Songs of the Week:

Michael Jackson:

James Baldwin, Black Creativity and Film with Bre Dioni

Oct 5 • 36:40

Jesse is joined by writer and filmmaker, Bre Dioni. The two discuss how adversity affects creativity, being Black in Wisconsin, and film. Jesse then talks about his new Patreon Page for the podcast as well as the songs of the week and an important passage from No Name in the Street.

Songs of the Week:

Mary J. Blige:
No More Drama

John Lennon:
Instant Karma 

Bre Dioni Page...

Bonus Episode

Oct 2 • 07:51

James Baldwin, the Artist, and the Power of Photography with RJ Page

Sep 28 • 39:37

Jesse is joined this week by photographer RJ Page. The two discuss several of Baldwin's works including: Giovanni's Room, Another Country, and If Beale Street Could Talk. The two also discuss Page's work as a photographer, jazz music and artists, as well as the power of music in one's life.

Songs of the Week:

F Tha Police

Ice Cube:
It Was a Good Day

RJ Page's Photogra...

James Baldwin as Activist and Agitator with Dr. Bill V. Mullen

Sep 21 • 39:55

Jesse is joined by Professor Bill V. Mullen and talk about his Baldwin biography, Living In Fire. They discuss James Baldwin's role as an activist and agitator of the state in the 1960's and the toll that takes on a person mentally and spiritually. They talk about Baldwin works, Nobody Knows My Name, No Name in the Street, and Blue's for Mister Charlie. Jesse goes on to ta...

James Baldwin, Tupac Shakur, and Krump Dancing with Traviance Witherspoon

Sep 14 • 40:25

Jesse is joined this week by Krump dancer, Traviance Witherspoon. The two discuss the origins of Krump, its popularity, and how creativity can be stifled in an oppressed system. Jesse then talks about Tupac Shakur and his lasting legacy on the anniversary of his murder.

Songs of the Week:

Tupac Shakur:
Dear Mama, Brenda's Got a Baby

Women Krump Wednesday Youtube

Women Krump W...

James Baldwin and the Artist's Struggle for Integrity with Jamie Dawson

Sep 7 • 42:25

Jesse plays an excerpt from James Baldwin's talk about the artist's struggle for integrity. He then talks to poet, singer, and dancer, Jamie Dawson. Jamie discusses her struggle for integrity as an artist and how her life in Florida and schooling in Wisconsin affected her. She talks about her creative process, learning from White professors, and why The Bible is a banger!


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