Monday, February 25, 2008


Monday, February 25, 2008

Today we reviewed the James Baldwin essay about MLK Jr. I didn't know it would be such a hard assignment. Please forgive me. In the early class (10-12) we skimmed the essay together by reading the introduction, then reading the topic sentences. It took almost two hours to do this. I then recapped the essay in an outline.

This afternoon, I changed strategies. We divided the essay into 7 parts and broke into pairs where students read the section and summarized their part. We then reported back. It still took a lot of time. We went over a few minutes, but students said it helped a lot.

Baldwin uses sophisticated vocabulary. He also references people you might not know like Booker T. Washington and Bayard Rustin. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with them, if you want a deeper understanding of the text.

Homework for the early class was to complete the Cyber-Assignment on the Baldwin essay given last week. The homework for the afternoon class was to respond to the freewrite: What is James Baldwin's essay "Martin Luther King" about? Identify three arguments in an essay. The essay needs to be 250 words minimally. Below is a sample essay I wrote as a freewrite. (You can fill in the blanks :-)

In James Baldwin's essay...he writes about... He surveys the development of MLK Jr.'s leadership and implies that Martin King comes to his role naturally, given his grandfather's leadership in the NAACP and his achievements which surpasses the expectations his family probably had for him, especially his dad.

Baldwin characterizes the South as a place to fear, and his admiration of King is viewed through a lens that King was drawn to his work becasue he loved the South and his people. He could find no other powerful a motive than this. King's love, perhaps even naivete was addressed in this essay repeatedly, an inference one could detect when Baldwin was most moved by his young friends grief and disappointment. An example of this is when King is accused of stealing from his organization. Another is when he is almost killed by a fan at a book signing.

Though he extolls his friend's virtues, Baldwin also criticizes him. He calls King into question when he abandons Bayard Rustin, one of his key organizers in the Civil Rights Movement. I think this was a great disappointment to Baldwin. He addresses the potential of black leadership, or rather, measures or takes its temperature as he conludes the essay with a forecast of what American can expect as it moves towards "[t]he possiblity of liberation which is always real is also always painful, since it involves such an overhauling of all that gave us our identity" (657).

You can post your assignment here. Also, read to page 18 in Letters. If you don't have the book. make a friend and photocopy the first 20 or so pages.

ammnah babikir

What is James Baldwin's essay "Martin Luther King” about? Identify three arguments in the essay. Today we broke up into separate groups and summed up the section our group was assigned. My interpretation of what Baldwin was speaking about in section 2 was that of inexperienced hostile territory in which he became submerged in when entering such a damaged realm that Montgomery had to offer at that particular time.

When Baldwin stepped onto the bus he suddenly remembered that he had forgot to pay the fair. He received the strangest, most hostile of looks, and then the bus driver turned his head away. This part of the essay was so touching because it symbolized that even though blacks were able to sit anywhere they pleased, white passengers internally burned with raging racism because blacks were given even that much leeway. This was not just the kind of tone on the bus; it was the disease that plagued through the town. This silence which followed the town was that of deep betrayal by the whites because the blacks refused to be controlled by the whites.

Then on a Sunday Baldwin went to hear king speak at his Church. He was blown away at the sight. The atmosphere was so powerful and his sermon was so well put together. This church of King’s had ushers and organization. He was blown away due to such a great spirit this young man had; but most importantly what he gave back to his community. I enjoyed this essay because these issues are so relevant in today’s society. It helps to talk openly about racism while being mindful of others opinions and beliefs; it’s just that more should actually be done to positively change it.
Alejandro Aguilar
English 201b

In James Baldwin essay he talks about the development of Martin Luther King as a leader. Martin seemed to be as genuine a man as ever. The first time they met he looked at him and smiled, and they shook hands. A important thing to know is that Martin was like this to everyone, what he says and does, he will say to whites as well, as equals.

When King rose to speak, James could feel the energy that he had. He noticed that the energy was different from that of all the other churches he's been to. Because King has this great emotional power he was able to reach so many more people. Everyone was able to go to church and get what was important from the readings, "sustenance for another day's journey". He was so good at what he did because of the intimate knowledge he had about everyone, and he talks about the things that hurt and baffle us. I feel like this is important in this essay, Kings love and knowledge for this moved so many people.

Most important is the struggle that Martin has to endure, his battle for equality has not yet ended. There are still to this day many issues involving equality. People will no doubt utter things behind your back, and be nice to you in your face. He succeeded in a way no Negro has before him. He taught us about self-examination, responsibility. The essay really focus's on the effects that helped change the Negro identity.

"All futures are rough". 657
Chesi Brown
English 201B

James Baldwin’s essay is about leadership. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr took on the responsibilities for trying to make a change in segregation. There are so many incredible things this man as accomplish. In class we went over some of the thing. The Mr. Baldwin’s had admired about Dr. King. It told story that we never really look into like, when he first met his wife Corette. Why he became a minister, how his day and grandfather has such a huge impact on him. Baldwin gave details of first meeting Dr. King and how much this young powerful man influences him. Especially to be so young and gifted, in this chapter it touches on how afraid Dr. King was when first coming to Montgomery. The hostility the white has towards black; however, Dr. King had courage that has never been found before. In this chapter it about how preaches like know other minister he was direct about what he was thinking he say, “ that not only do white of some changing to do, but the black have some changing to do.” With this statement it made me realize how important this man was. Not just for blacks but for white. He focuses on no more segregated schools, Booker T. Washington, and his comments he had on the black community.

One of the arguments that I found that was interesting was “Montgomery is the cradle of the Confederacy, an unlucky distinction which no one in Montgomery is allowed to forget.” I find this statement very true.

Baldwin touch some important facts about Dr. King, mostly how he admire is courage and his strengths of leadership. Although there were thing that he didn’t agree with he still find ways to understand the circumstances.
Ammnah, your response needs to be written as an essay. Also, look at the assignment. The essay is complex and Baldwin is hard to read, let alone comprehend. Choose three areas you'd like to address in an essay. Choice three area which are important. The bus incident was important as an example of the hostility Baldwin noticed his first time on public transportaion in the South. Remember, he was from New York, Harlem where racism was present, but not as overt.

Look at Alejandro's essay as an example. Alejandro your essay is well written and a thoughtful analysis of the Baldwin's essay.

Chesi, you essay is a good start. continue developing your idea about the theme leadership and how Baldwin describes the leader and man MLK Jr.
Sophia Andrews

The key point of James Baldwin writting this eassay was to observe the value, and appreciation of leadership that Martin Luther King Jr had. Baldwin sort of organizes this eassay with a structure of events that built up to the peak of MLK's leadership during his time. Baldwin dicusses his background, mainly the political influences that MLK had around him as a child, like his grandfather, the President of the NAACP.
James Baldwin expresses how he admired MLK for seeking change through preaching it to people in a way that helped for them to understand that if change was something that they all wanted then they must first realize that they have to want the change bad enought, and start with them selves, MLK didnt blame the white man, and this was something that James Baldwin himself was in favor of, not hating the white man but in return loving him.
James Baldwin clearly stresses in this essay how he admire, agrees, and resoect MLK for chasing his dreams, and helping the negro community chase their prize of freedom.
chad doyle

201 A

In the story ''The Dangerous Road''by James Baldwin, it's about james going to visit King throught kings career. when james first met king, he didn't know what to expect. He wanted to ask him so many questions , although he also wouldn't intrude on kings busy schedule. James himself felt the hostility sorroundinng the south and its silent racial discrimination. James was also scared because of all the violence that was common among those times during the movement.

James was also intrested in what made Martin Luther king the man he was today. With his grandfather being president of the NAACP. He was impressed with King's strong upbringing. James also had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. king.

I believe when James listend to Martin Luther King's speeches it changed him a little. I believe he got a better understanding of King's motivation , and most of all, what he ment to the people.
Even though there was skeptism with the NAACP, and some of King's later desicions. I believe in the end James belived in the king's messages to the world.
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