With a cigarette in one hand, armed with crisp wit and refined indignation during the period of history that commanded its existence, James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924-December 1, 1987) was the voice that the world needed. This American essayist, poet, activist, and novelist was world-renowned for his ability to create a type of artistry with words that are likened to that of a painter's stroke of paint on a canvas. Know for authoring “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, “Notes of a Native Son ” and " If Beale Street Could Talk," Baldwin’s honest and raw view of societal issues made plain the need for deep, meaningful dialogue surrounding race and equality (among other things.)
Although many of Mr. Baldwins' writings deserve a highlight, I wanted to focus on one of his essays that he wrote and gave a speech titled “The Artist Struggle for Integrity.” I know, you may be reading this thinking that this is an essay solely meant for artists. Contrarily, much can be gleaned for this writing that has practical applications for anyone willing to think with an open mind. Integrity is a quality that many feel is inherent to humanity and often confuse it for righteousness. The hope for many is that these two qualities can live in the same space; however, within the framework of equality, these qualites can be mutually exclusive. This essay allows the reader to explore what integrity means to them and how their personal view may not align with others. That’s ok! The next thing to consider is what can be learned and changed by the person's willingness to see the struggle as the big picture of the ownership of what integrity has been, is, and will be to them. That alone can be a struggle.
Please enjoy the audio recording as well as the transcript of the essay through the links below. **This is not a video originally created by me. Any specific content issues are that of the creator and can be accessed by contacting them through thier YouTube and other social media. All credit given to the creator of this video on their Youtube channel. **