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During the last ten years of his life, he produced a number of important works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Baldwin took a job in the defense industry in Belle Meade, N.
J., and there, not for the first time, he was confronted with racism, discrimination and the debilitating regulations of segregation.
“Once I found myself on the other side of the ocean,” Baldwin told the , “I could see where I came from very clearly, and I could see that I carried myself, which is my home, with me. Baldwin’s move led to a burst of creativity that included and other works.
He also wrote a series of essays probing the psychic history of the United States along with his inner self.
In 1948 he moved to Paris, using funds from a Rosenwald Foundation fellowship to pay his passage.
Most critics feel that this journey abroad was fundamental to Baldwin’s development as an author. I must deal with both.” Through some difficult financial and emotional periods, Baldwin undertook a process of self-realization that included both an acceptance of his heritage and an admittance of his bisexuality.
Traveling throughout the South, he began work on an explosive work about black identity and the state of racial struggle, – became an early and essential voice in the civil rights movement.
Though at times criticized for his pacifist stance, Baldwin remained an important figure in that struggle throughout the 1960s.
After the assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, Baldwin returned to St.
Paul de Vence, France, where he worked on a book about the disillusionment of the times, with accusations of bitterness – but even though Baldwin had encapsulated much of the anger of the times in his book, he always remained a constant advocate for universal love and brotherhood.