95 years after his birth, James Baldwin’s life and writing has much to teach us about the challenges and joys of seeking to live with love and hope even when those seem impossible. His novel If Beale Street Could Talk is a story of surviving violence, danger and racism. In this first in a two-part series on Baldwin’s work, we’ll explore its lessons for us about how to love and persevere.
Benjamin Van Dyne is a PhD candidate in theology at Fordham University, where his work focuses on the interconnections between evolving concepts of race, personhood and death. He also teaches undergraduate classes in religion and theology and serves on the coordinating committee for the labor union of Fordham’s graduate workers. Prior to Fordham, Benjamin graduated from Union Theological Seminary where he was a classmate of Rev. Petra’s, and worked as a community organizer in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, New York City and Long Island. He grew up in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia and remains connected with local church communities. He lives in the Bronx with his two children. He’s on Twitter at @benjaminvandyne.