Black Rage in Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time”

When I watched all the children, their copper, brown, and beige faces staring up at me as I taught Sunday School, I felt that I was committing a crime in talking about the gentle Jesus, in telling them to reconcile themselves to their misery on earth in order to gain the crown of eternal life. Were only Negroes to gain this crown? Was Heaven, then, to be merely another ghetto? Perhaps I might have been able to reconcile myself even to this if I had been able to believe that there was any loving-kindness to be found in the heaven I represented. – James Baldwin, “Fire Next Time” (pg. 39)

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