Thursday, December 31, 2015

50 years later: William F. Buckley Jr & James Baldwin debate the American Dream

"One of the things the white world does not know, but I know, is that black people are just like everybody else. We are also mercenaries, dictators, murderers, liars. We are human, too." - James Baldwin 

“The trouble in Mississippi is that there are too many white people voting, not too few Black people voting.” - William F. Buckley Jr.

James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. debate Race and the American Dream
The location was Cambridge University in England and the date was October 27, 1965 and two Americans joined by two undergraduates from this academic institution debated the motion: "The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro". For the motion was James Baldwin, a world renown author and public intellectual who also happened to be an African American. Contesting the motion was William F. Buckley Jr. editor of National Review and a leading voice of conservatives in the United States. The motion was won by James Baldwin overwhelmingly by 544 votes for the motion, 164 against. A full transcript of Baldwin's and Buckley's presentations are available online in PDF format. However the full debate captured on video is available online and is embedded below.

Between May 7th and 8th, 2015 Linfield College held a "Symposium on James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the American Dream" and the debates, speeches and discussions are available online.