Events

James Baldwin vs. William F. Buckley: The Great Debate Over Race in America

Hosted by the United States Centre

Vera Anstey Room, Old Building

Speaker

Professor Nicholas Buccola

Professor Nicholas Buccola

Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon

Chair

Dr. Clive Nwonka

Dr. Clive Nwonka

LSE Fellow in Film Studies, Department of Sociology

On February 18, 1965, an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union, to watch a televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. The subject was “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”

Through his new book, The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr. and the Debate Over Race in America, Nicholas Buccola revisited that historic debate, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how it and the decades-long clash between the two men continues to illuminate America's racial divide today.

Professor Nicholas Buccola (@buccola_nick) is the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon. He is a is a writer, lecturer, and teacher who specializes in the area of American political thought. He is the author of The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (Princeton University, 2019) and The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty (New York University Press, 2012).

Dr Clive James Nwonka (@CJNwonka) is an LSE Fellow in Film Studies within the Department of Sociology. His research is situated at the intersections of contemporary realism and film policy, with particular interests in black British film, international cinemas and American Independent film.

The LSE's United States Centre (@LSE_US) is a hub for global expertise, analysis and commentary on America. Our mission is to promote policy-relevant and internationally-oriented scholarship to meet the growing demand for fresh analysis and critical debate on the United States.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEUSBaldwinvBuckley

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