“The Other James Baldwin”: Using the Past to Imagine the Future
"The Other James Baldwin" is a creative reading and writing activity that unpacks the ideological assumptions in a children’s poem entitled “Foreign Children” found in Reading with Expression, Third Reader, edited by James Baldwin in 1911.
One hundred years after its publication, workshop participants are given quotes by James Arthur Baldwin --author, intellectual, critic, and activist--as a lens to think about the text. Participants are asked to consider how we read, write and talk about Others, those people different from ourselves, and to consider the question “What would James Arthur Baldwin say to Teachers now?”
Using the work of one James Baldwin to critique the other, participants will rewrite the text, using pens, markers, scissors, correction fluid and other visual art materials.
The objectiveof this creative art intervention is to use the voice of an iconic Black intellectual to question this text from the past —the language, narrative and imagery—to envision the cultural and educational institutions of the future.
The revised pages will be photographed and added to a slide show, a growing digital text that will be shown in other venues where the workshop is presented.
See poster-size redacted texts of both James Baldwins at Wa Na Wari Seatle, October 17 to December 28, 2019