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National Press Club Luncheon Speakers

James Baldwin, December 10, 1986

Image: James Baldwin with Washington Post columnist William Raspberry and CNN news anchor Bernard Shaw.
James Baldwin (right) with Washington Post columnist William Raspberry (left) and CNN news anchor Bernard Shaw (center), December 10, 1986. Photo by Stan Jennings. National Press Club Archives.

The novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet James Baldwin (1924-1987) delivered a lecture entitled “The World I Never Made” to a National Press Club luncheon gathering on December 10, 1986, at the beginning of a coast-to-coast speaking tour. The talk, broadcast over National Public Radio and C-SPAN, was one of Baldwin’s final attempts to present views on the meaning and impact of race in American life that the writer, as one of the nation’s most eloquent public intellectuals, had developed over a career that began in the 1940s.... More [PDF; 176 KB]

Timings (hh:mm:ss)

Introductions: 00:00-05:21
Speech: 05:22-20:37
Q & A: 20:38-56:43

Topics of the Talk

  • American Virtues of Simplicity, Sincerity, and Immaturity: 07:22-10:46; 51:05-52:26
  • Aversion to History as an Affliction to American Vision: 10:47-12:46
  • The History that Americans Deny; History of American Indians and Blacks: 12:47-15:18
  • Myths Created to Replace Reality in the U.S.: 15:19-19:23; 52:29-55:01
  • Influences of Black Men on Black Female Authors: 20:47-23:21
  • Context of U.S. Reporting of Events in South Africa: 23:24-25:22
  • Reagan Administration’s Approach to Nicaragua and South Africa: 25:26-26:46
  • Portrayal of Black Men in Books and Movies: 27:09-29:37
  • Role of Today’s American Black Male: 29:38-32:01
  • Identifying Blame for Racial Struggles in the United States: 32:05-34:54
  • Baldwin’s Move from the U.S. to France, French Racism, and French Creativity: 34:55-39:34
  • Race Relations in the United States: 41:17-44:01
  • Effect of the Legalization of Drugs in the United States: 45:53-48:06
  • Youth of America: 48:07-49:36
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  March 11, 2022
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