After reading James Baldwin's short story "Going to Meet the Man", I was compelled to find out a little more about the man who wrote it. I thought the story was a very dark and it made me wonder what type of past Baldwin had that made him come up with something so disturbing.
From what I could tell, Baldwin went through a lot in his early life. When he was just an infant, his mother divorced his father because of his father's history of drug abuse and they moved to New York. After starting their new lives, his mother married a preacher and they lived a very poor life. Baldwin was forced to take care of his younger siblings. At the young age of ten, Baldwin was beaten by a group of police officers. His stepfather died of tuberculosis when Baldwin was 19. During his teenage years in Harlem, Baldwin began to realize that he was homosexual. Baldwin then moved to Paris, France to try an escape the prejudice of race and sexuality in America. Baldwin's novels and plays seem to give some insight into the struggles he had throughout his life. Baldwin not only wrote about the integration of blacks but also about male homosexuals. The strong topics he wrote about were during a time that was well before the equality of homosexuals was introduced into America.
After getting a little more information about where James Baldwin came from, it is easier to see how a man could come up with such a dark story. Baldwin obviously came from a troubled childhood, overcoming the prejudice of race and homosexuality. Baldwin wrote about what he knew and experienced throughout his life. I like to think that Baldwin was able to overcome his troubling past and did something he had a passion for, which was writing and was able to enjoy his life after those demons were gone.