The Harlem Stage

Born in Harlem in 1924, author James Baldwin was one of the country’s leading chroniclers of the experience of black Americans. Nineteen students spent the spring semester exploring how Baldwin’s work examined “the changing geography of Harlem around race, sexuality, gender, religion, and American power,” says Rich Blint, the associate director of the Office of Public Programs and Engagement at Columbia’s School of the Arts and an adjunct assistant professor at Barnard. In the course, taught in conjunction with Harlem Stage, the students participated in a master class led by Meshell Ndegeocello, whose work in progress, Can I Get a Witness: The Gospel of James Baldwin, is scheduled to premiere at Harlem Stage in the fall. The master class demonstrated “how widely relevant Baldwin’s work is,” says Tamsin Pargiter ’16. Baldwin has become one of her favorite authors.