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James Baldwin: The Transatlantic Commuter

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Social Studies +4 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Beginning in the late 1940s, the notable African American writer, James Baldwin (1924-1987), lived abroad for much of his life. While acknowledging the benefits of his residence abroad to all of his works and life story, he always considered himself an American living as a “transatlantic commuter.”  This Learning Lab Collection asks you to analyze the documents, images, and objects that give insight into James Baldwin's life as transatlantic commuter and to use these objects of Baldwin to understand how they impacted his work and writings. 

A downloadable PDF workbook is included. The questions and activities are arranged as they appear in the Learning Lab Collection and are designed to enhance student exploration.

This Learning Lab is a companion piece of the digital NMAAHC exhibition Chez Baldwin.

Keywords: nmaahc, African, american, James, Baldwin, travel, Atlantic, commuter, writing, literature, Paris, New York, France, Turkey, Istanbul, Switzerland, United States, #NMAAHCteach

LHTO: James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC Workbook

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC Map

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC Quote

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC Objects

NMAAHC Education

United States passport belonging to James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Postcard to Berdis Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Postcard to Paula Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Postcard to David Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Postcard to Paula Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Envelope addressed to James Baldwin from Alex Haley

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Letter to Paula Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Apartment lease signed by James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Letter to David Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Photograph of James Baldwin seated at his work table

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Photograph of James Baldwin and friends sitting outside around the "welcome" table

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Letter to Paula Baldwin from James Baldwin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education

James Baldwin TAC

NMAAHC Education