Wednesday: James Baldwin Birthday Party

Aug. 2

It feels a little strange to throw a party to celebrate James Baldwin’s birthday. Not because he’s not worthy of celebration, but because the writer’s piercing, sometimes gloomy, always prescient observations about race in America were anything but a good time. His most notable works were ''Notes of a Native Son,” ''Nobody Knows My Name,” and ''The Fire Next Time.” The documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” based on an unfinished Baldwin work, made waves last year. Of it, City Paper contributor Angela N. Carroll wrote, “The overarching message of ‘I Am Not Your Negro,’ which is both encouraging and profoundly depressing, is a specific call to action, a challenge for Americans, particularly ‘white’ Americans, to cast off the identification of whiteness, and of blackness/the nigger, in pursuit and acknowledgment of a greater humanistic worldview.” Baldwin has been dead for 30 years now, and his legacy lives on locally, too—his sister, Paula Whaley, is an artist who still lives and works in Baltimore, and this city is the home of the James Baldwin Literary Society, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Honor the life of the visionary writer and thinker, who would have turned 93 years old tonight. 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Nancy by SNAC, 131 W. North Ave., (410) 685 0039, facebook.com/events/110421449523576, free. (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

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