James Baldwin's ‘‘The Rockpile’’ was first published in 1965 in the author's first and only short-story collection, Going to Meet the Man. Critics believe that it may have been written much earlier, when Baldwin was working on his 1953 novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain. The short story draws on the same pool of characters from the novel, and the main incident in ‘‘The Rockpile’’ is similar to a scene from the novel. In ‘‘The Rockpile,’’ which takes place in Depression-era Harlem, John, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Grimes, is unable to stop his brother, Roy, from getting into a fight on a rockpile with some other African-American boys. Roy gets hurt, and John gets blamed by his stepfather, although Elizabeth faces her husband and sticks up for John. When the story was first published in the 1960s, America was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, in which Baldwin was an active participant. The story addresses the issue of violence between African-American men, the violence inherent in African-American families, and the power of religion in Depression-era Harlem. Most critics consider Baldwin's short stories inferior to his novels, which are in turn considered inferior to his essays. Baldwin's short stories contain many of the same themes he explores in other works and offer a portrait of the artist at various stages of his writing development. A current copy of the story can be found in the paperback version of Going to Meet the Man, which was published by Vintage Books in 1995.