The home of a late but treasured author is now a U.S. national landmark.
The National Register of Historic Places has added the New York apartment of late writer James Baldwin to its list of historical landmarks.
James Baldwin was a popular black and gay writer during the civil rights era. He often spoke candidly about being an openly gay Black man during this era. Something that both inspired people around him and caused the ire of others.
When he wasn’t writing, Baldwin was often fighting for political activism concerning black people and gay people. This led to him being the close friend and ally of several historic figures such as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Despite his political history and his many notable works like Notes on a Native Son or If Beale Street Could Talk, Baldwin had been fairly ignored Hollywood and the entertainment industry. That said, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was applauded on his adaption of If Beale Street Could Talk (the first film adaption of a Baldwin work). The film was nominated Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original score at the 91st Academy Awards. Regina King also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Now, the apartment on 137 West 71st Street where many of Baldwin’s most famous works were written will be recognized as a national landmark.
“Seeing James Baldwin’s NYC residence listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the realization of our mission, in part, to increase LGBT representation on this important official inventory of sites and to formally recognize the U.S. home most closely associated with Baldwin, a pivotal voice of 20th century America,” said Amanda Davis, project manager at the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, which helped champion the recognition.
In addition, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recognized the apartment as a state and city landmark earlier this year. Thanks to that, the building’s historical significance will be remembered for many years to come.