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James Arthur Baldwin Life James Arthur Baldwin was born the first of nine children during 1924 in Harlem His father David was a clergyman and a factory worker and was the source of all of James Baldwins fears Baldwins mother Berdis was a homemaker Baldwin first started writing around age fourteen as a way of seeking the love which he was missing from his family life During this time Baldwin attended Frederick Douglas Junior High School and DeWitt Clinton High School During his school years Baldwin won several awards for his writings The joy that he felt from having others praise his work was overshadowed however by his fathers disapproval of his non-Christian-oriented writing James Baldwins father was a very religious Christian who forced the church on young James For a few years from ages fourteen through seventeen Baldwin was even a preacher It was the bittersweet beauty of the church which Baldwin said turned him into a writer Those few years of lost herding opened James Baldwins eyes to the fact that he was in need of soul searching Those years would not be in vain the cadences of black religious rituals sound throughout his writings Baldwin was also known to credit his years at the pulpit for morphing him into the writer he was to become In 1942 James Baldwin was fed up with his father fed up with the church and at that point fed up with his life The brassy young Baldwin went into a restaurant which he knew was designated for whites only and demanded that he be served When the waitress informed him that they did not serve his kind in that restaurant Baldwin picked up a glass and hurled it at her with all his pent up spite for the world That was the last straw for James Baldwin he knew that he needed to leave his home since childhood for new experiences and did so that
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