Books: Ashes

NO NAME IN THE STREET by JAMES BALDWIN 197 pages. Dial. $5.95.

Despite his credentials as an outsider, James Baldwin has been a middleman between black rights activists and white liberals. Finely written early novels like Go Tell It on the Mountain sensitized white readers to life under black skin. The moral essays (Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time) personalized the abstractions of racism with passion and high intelligence. Yet a middleman runs the risk of being caught between both ends. Liberals eventually tired of having their noses rubbed in their own hypocrisy. Radical brothers like Eldridge Cleaver charged Baldwin...

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