James Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist.
His essays, collected in Notes Of a Native Son (1955), explore racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the United States during the mid-twentieth century.
Baldwin's works are unapologetic and deal directly with themes of masculinity, sexuality, race, and class. His protagonists are often but not exclusively African American, while gay and bisexual men also frequently feature as protagonists in his literature. These characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for social and self-acceptance, running parallel to the American Civil Rights and Gay Rights movements.