Lessons from James Baldwin On International Women's Day, his influence on my mother

James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet
James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet

by Leslie Layton

My closest sense of connection to the writer James Baldwin comes not through the wonderful film showing through March 9 at the Pageant Theatre about him, and not even through iconic books like “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” which I read during my formative first year in college.

It comes through a painting of him, a less-than-literal interpretation of the mood and character that I might have glimpsed had I known James Baldwin as a boy. I keep that painting – which happens to be my most treasured keepsake from my late mother – hanging on a wall near whatever desk I use when I work – that is, when I really work — at writing.

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