James Baldwin was a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, and activist best known for his groundbreaking 1955 collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son. His novels include Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), the semiautobiographical plot of which mirrors Baldwin’s own religious upbringing, years as a teenage preacher, and subsequent disillusionment; and Giovanni’s Room (1956), which follows a romance between two men living in Paris. Baldwin was born in Harlem, spent his youth in New York City, and emigrated to Paris when he was twenty-four years old. He was a powerful voice of the civil rights movement, a popular public speaker later in life, and one of the foundational figures of contemporary nonfiction. He died in 1987 in France.