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The Fire Is upon Us

James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America

Nicholas Buccola

ca. 18,99
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Princeton University Press img Link Publisher

Sachbuch / 20. Jahrhundert (bis 1945)


"A great read."—Whoopi Goldberg, The View

How the clash between the civil rights firebrand and the father of modern conservatism continues to illuminate America's racial divide

On February 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual. The topic was "the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro," and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. Nicholas Buccola's The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America's racial divide today.

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised Baldwin and the privileged Buckley could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in Cambridge, Buckley was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an "eloquent menace." For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin's call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley's unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy.

A remarkable story of race and the American dream, The Fire Is upon Us reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of a conflict that continues to haunt our politics.

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Racism, Morality, His Family, Norman Mailer, Southern Democrats, Barry Goldwater, Brown v. Board of Education, Ideology, Decolonization, Superiority (short story), Nonviolence, Slavery, Career, Liberalism, Standing ovation, Western culture, Relativism, Criticism, House Un-American Activities Committee, Assassination, Desegregation, Hostility, William F. Buckley Jr., Citizens' Councils, Anti-communism, Freedom Riders, Demagogue, Of Education, Racial politics, Christianity, White supremacy, Civilization, A. Philip Randolph, White people, Household, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr., Sit-in, Lee Edwards, Activism, African Americans, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Laughter, Legislation, Black people, Paternalism, Debate, James Burnham, Race Matters, Jews, Publication, What Happened, Headline, That Night, Racial hierarchy, Politician, Racism in the United States, Scholarship, Political philosophy, White Southerners, Novelist, Another Country (novel), Abolitionism, Individualism, Americans, Nazism, Rhetoric, The Other Hand, Conservative coalition, Racial segregation, The New York Times, Explanation, Indictment, Hatred, Symptom, Running mate, Writing, Distrust, Reconstruction Era, Buckley's, Protest, Mr., John F. Kennedy, Constitutionalist (UK), World War II, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Oppression, God and Man at Yale, Right-wing politics, Frank Meyer (political philosopher), Humiliation, Blues for Mister Charlie, Communism, Politics, Voting, Law enforcement, Newspaper, Their Lives, Institution, Skepticism