James Baldwin was an essayist, novelist, and playwright born in Harlem in 1924. In 1948, he traveled to France, where he wrote his first collection of essays along with two novels, including the semi-autobiographical work “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” In an interview published in 1984 by “The Paris Review,” Baldwin spoke of returning from Paris to the United States, meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and finding himself in the center of the civil rights movement. “I didn’t think of myself as a public speaker, or as a spokesman,” he said, “but I knew I could get a story past the editor’s desk.” Realizing he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t, he spent the rest of his life writing on themes of race and justice.