The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

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Is My Dungeon Shook still relevant today?

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Name VonRueden eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I believe "My Dungeon Shook" is still relevant, as is the other, longer essay included in James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time.

Most people would agree that the racial dynamic of the U.S. today is not nearly as dysfunctional as it was in 1963, when Baldwin's essay was published. Baldwin, in the letter addressed to his young nephew, was writing at a time when the Civil Rights movement had begun only a few years before. The South at this time still had legalized segregation of the races and severe discrimination against African Americans in voting, housing, jobs, and access to public places. Though the northern states, even before the 1960's, no longer had legal racial discrimination, the demographics of nearly all cities throughout the U.S. showed that segregation was present everywhere, even if it was not backed up by specific laws.

Much, of course, has changed since then, beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ending of Jim Crow in the South. These events occurred shortly after...

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