Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 July 2019
Written at a nexus of national and personal turmoil, No Name in the Street (1972) and One Day When I was Lost:A Scenario Based on Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1972) reflect a precarious period for James Baldwin as author and public figure. Both works are most often regarded for the dramatic terms of their production and as evidence of Baldwin’s shifting political character. Such emphasis is not without reason. A mix of disorienting grief for lost friends, fledgling faith in his nation, and an urgent tone in step with emergent black radicalism marks each text. The uneasy amalgam of Baldwin’s signature resolve and growing despair denote personal anxieties regarding his place in the shifting black freedom struggle. At the turn of the decade, Baldwin found himself a survived civil rights icon facing an uncertain, though assuredly turbulent, future.