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Maya Angelou & James Baldwin


In an excerpt from American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Maya Angelou, Lou Gossett Jr., and Guy Johnson speak about James Baldwin.

Funding for Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise is provided by IDP Foundation, Ford Foundation/Just Films, National Endowment for the Arts, National Black Programming Consortium, Anne Ulnick, Michael Metelits, and Loida and Leslie Lewis.


Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation and public television viewers.


I first met James Baldwin in Paris in the early '50s. I was with Porgy and Bess, and I met him - he was small and hot dancing himself.

I mean his movements were always the movements of a dancer. So when I met Jimmy well, we liked each other.

I remember the respect that they gave one another - the excitement they both are expressing themselves and both brilliant people in a room. After a couple of drinks saying what they really feel. I'm a kind of poet, and I come out of a certain place, a certain time, a certain history. You know? Right. James Baldwin was merely my mother's friend Jimmy. I had no idea the majesty of his work at the time. What I recall is my mother coming home after conversations with him and talking about what she was going to do as a result of having met with him.

What Jimmy was, was angry. He was angry at injustice, at ignorance, at exploitation, at stupidity, at vulgarity.

Yes, he was angry.


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