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Mon Feb 17, 2020, 04:05 PM

Baldwin-Buckley race debate still resonates 55 years on

It looks like there's a new book out about this debate! It looks like he unpacks some of the stuff that happened in the debate.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/baldwin-buckley-race-debate-still-resonates-55-years-on

From the transcript (at link):

Zachary Green:

On the evening of February 18, 1965, two cultural giants—James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr.—squared off in-person for the first time. More than 50 years later, the debate still resonates. Political science professor Nicholas Buccola of Linfield College in Oregon was so taken with the skirmish that he wrote a book about it: "The Fire is Upon Us".

Nicholas Buccola:

It just seemed to me just such a dramatic moment and—such an important one. So these two movements that did so much to define 20th century—political history—to have these two figures clashing—was just—just irresistible.

Zachary Green:

Though Baldwin and Buckley were about the same age, their lives could not have begun more differently. Baldwin grew up in poverty in Harlem, and went from waiting tables in New York's Greenwich Village to become a literary critic and, eventually, a renowned novelist and essayist. Buckley, a scion of wealth, graduated from Yale and became an influential magazine editor and columnist. Both wrote extensively about race in 1950s and 60s America—though from drastically different points of view. Buckley made his position clear in a 1957 national review piece called "why the south must prevail"—in which he contended that white southerners were entitled to—quote—"take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally" over black citizens.


snip

Nicholas Buccola:

To be a patriot for Buckley meant standing up for the institutions and ideas that you take to be—central to the American political experiment, and he viewed his role throughout his life as—as being somebody who would be a guardian of those ideals against ideas, and—and institutions, and groups that he thought were threatening to those ideals. Baldwin says that patriotism requires a constant criticism, a constant reflection on the ways in which we're falling short of our—our ideals and—and to love one's country means that we have to do that together. It's the foundation of morally how we sh—how we ought to behave, how we ought to live together, and it's the foundation politically of what we need to do as a country to move closer to justice.

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