James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist, playwright, activist—he was and is one of my original writing role models. I began my higher education with Baldwin even before I had ever stepped foot on a college campus. Since I was a very young man, I have endeavored to live my life in accordance with one of his most famous quotes: “I want to be an honest man and a good writer.”
When I was still a teen, my mother insisted that I read all his works. I enjoyed them; however, it would be years before my critical reading skills had developed enough to fully comprehend what I was reading. And at that time, I was even more thankful for the gift my mother had given me.
So if you have never read Baldwin, take today to go out and pick up a copy of one of his books and do so. And if you have read Baldwin and you fully appreciate the sheer power and importance of his oeuvre, please join me in a small sip of scotch, his favorite drink, in his honor. Cheers.