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Go Tell it On the Mountain book cover
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN was published in 1953.

The novel takes place in Harlem during the 1930s.
By James Baldwin

In "Part One: The Seventh Day," John describes a Sunday morning service at the Temple of the Fire Baptized, the church where John's father is a deacon and his family attends services.

They sang with all the strength that was in them, and clapped their hands for joy. There had never been a time when John had not sat watching the saints rejoice with terror in his heart, and wonder. Their singing caused him to believe in the presence of the Lord; indeed, it was no longer a question of belief, because they made that presence real. He did not feel it himself, the joy they felt, yet he could not doubt that it was, for them, the very bread of life—could not doubt it, that is, until it was too late to doubt. Something happened to their faces and their voices, the rhythm of their bodies, and to the air they breathed; it was as though wherever they might be became the upper room, and the Holy Ghost were riding on the air. His father's face, always awful, became more awful now; his father's daily anger was transformed into prophetic wrath. His mother, her eyes raised to heaven, hands arced before her, moving, made real for John that patience, that endurance, that long suffering, which he had read of in the Bible and found so hard to imagine.
As editor of his high school's literary magazine, James Baldwin conducted this interview with his French teacher and mentor, Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen. more
Portrait of James Baldwin
In this 1984 interview, Baldwin discusses his early life and GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. more
image book
Images of Harlem
In the early twentieth century, Harlem's African-American population grew as migrants sought work in northern industrial centers. The Harlem Renaissance also attracted African-American writers, painters and musicians to the city. more
The American Novel